Before she was sentenced to prison Tuesday for causing a February crash that killed two people, a sobbing 19-year-old Anita Mann stood in court, faced relatives of her victims and apologized.
"I pray for you guys every day," the Nevada National Guard member told the grief-stricken families at the start of her hourlong sentencing.
Mann, who was drunk when her car slammed into a sport utility vehicle, killing Henderson residents Karen Hicks and Louis Madden, also apologized to her parents.
"I let you guys down," she said, as she looked at her mother and father, her voice breaking with emotion. "I love you guys so much."
After several family members for Hicks and Madden, both 65, took the witness stand to describe their losses, District Judge Valorie Vega sentenced Mann to six to 24 years in prison. She will be eligible for parole after six years.
Mann, who had pleaded guilty in April to two counts of driving under the influence resulting in death, told the judge, "I'm a good person, your honor. I'm not a bad person. I just made a very bad mistake."
As she handed down the sentence, Vega said, "There are a lot of tears in this room. Two lives were taken and ended, and there must be consequences."
The sentence was nearly identical to what Nevada parole and probation officers had recommended. Mann's attorney, Steve Wolfson, had told the judge that his client accepted responsibility for her actions and was willing to serve the recommended sentence.
"Today is a day when nobody wins," Wolfson said. "I wouldn't want your job today, Judge Vega."
Afterward, both Wolfson and Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Kochevar, who prosecuted the case, said the sentence was fair.
Kochevar consoled family members huddled around him outside the courtroom, thanking those who had testified and cautioning all of them that overcoming their grief will be a long process. Mann's parents and other family members congregated further down the hall.
"I just want it to be over," said Sylvia Pierce, Madden's sister. "I hope and pray Anita Mann will turn her life around."
Pierce and some of Hicks' family members tearfully described on the witness stand how much they missed their loved ones.
"I miss everything about her," Hicks' granddaughter Jordan Luby said. "I can't imagine life without her. Anita Mann should pay heavily for the two lives she stole."
Hicks' daughter, Veronica Luby, broke down on the witness stand as she talked about the horrible death her mother suffered and how she will never be able to hug her mother again.
"At least our community will be a safer place to drive with her (Mann) in jail," Luby told Vega.
Mann also cried as the Lubys poured out their hearts.
Authorities said Mann had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, at the time of the Feb. 16 fatal accident.
As part of the plea agreement, Kochevar did not speak at the sentencing.
According to her arrest report, Mann with slurred speech told Henderson police after the crash that she had been drinking, was drunk and should be taken to jail.
The crash occurred about 11:40 a.m. on Horizon Ridge Parkway at Shaded Canyon Drive, near Gibson Road.
Mann told investigators she had been drinking rum at a park before the crash, grand jury testimony shows.
She has been at the Clark County Detention Center on $240,000 bond, according to jail records.
Contact reporter Jeff German at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-8135 or read more courts coverage at lvlegalnews.com.