DENVER (CBS4) – A man accused of driving drunk and killing a young mother was found guilty Friday on all but one charge — first degree murder.

Johnny Gilbert (credit: Denver Police Department)

Johnny Gilbert (credit: Denver police)

Johnny Gilbert was convicted of several other felonies though, including vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a deadly accident, vehicular assault and second-degree assault for the death of 35-year-old Dora Gaytan-Esparza. Gilbert was also convicted of misdemeanor third-degree assault and DUI for the fatal crash on Christmas Eve in 2013.

Dora Gaytan-Esparza (credit: CBS)

Dora Gaytan-Esparza (credit: CBS)

“We are happy about it,” Armando Elizalde, a relative of Esparza’s husband, told CBS4 following the verdict. “We feel justice has been served. Nothing can bring back Dora, but we are happy with the decision.”

Gaytan-Esparza was driving home from a Christmas party with her husband and two daughters when Gilbert ran a red light at Peoria and 51st. He collided with the van, killing the 35-year-old mother.

Her husband and daughters survived and now have a message for anyone who chooses to drink and drive.

“For a moment of happiness you can change a lot of families’ lives,” Francisco Alvarez, Gaytan-Esparza’s husband, said. “That’s what happened here. Our lives have changed completely.”

Gilbert is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 15.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now reports for CBS4 News at 10 and is always open to story ideas. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.


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