By Melissa Garcia

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A judge handed down a 20-year prison sentence to the drunk driver who hit and killed a couple in Franktown.

Athina Munoz, 28, pleaded guilty in October 2016 to two counts of vehicular homicide.

Athina L. Munoz (credit: Douglas County Sheriff)

Athina L. Munoz (credit: Douglas County Sheriff)

In Friday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors said Munoz was over three times the legal limit, and was also high on marijuana and texting at the time of the crash.

Brian Lehner, 58, and his wife Jacquie 56, were riding their Harley Davidson on Highway 83 in Franktown when Munoz crossed over the center line into oncoming traffic and rammed into them. They were thrown from the motorcycle and both died at the scene.

Brian and Jacquie Lehner (credit: Ponderosa Valley Funeral Home)

Brian and Jacquie Lehner (credit: Ponderosa Valley Funeral Home)

George Brauchler, Douglas County District Attorney referred to Munoz as “a drunk, high, cocaine-using texter,” and asked the judge for the maximum punishment of 24-years.

Munoz, who was eligible for probation only, received two consecutive 10-year sentences, just four years less than the maximum punishment that the victims’ family members were also pushing for.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

When the sentence was announced, applause broke out in the courtroom.

“Hopefully this brings us all closure, including myself because I’ve had too many sleepless nights,” said Genie, a witness to the crash. “It was absolutely disgusting. No one should ever have to see anything like that ever.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

In court, Munoz apologized and told the judge that she had developed an addiction to alcohol in order to cope with her PTSD, anxiety, and depression stemming from childhood abuse.

Family members said those problems were no excuse for Munoz’ careless and selfish actions.

“This was so unexpected. It was so needless. I mean, a disease you can understand but this… it’s just incomprehensible,” said the victim’s sister Marti Hunt.

Brian and Jacquie Lehner (credit: CBS)

Brian and Jacquie Lehner (credit: CBS)

The case was not Munoz’ first criminal conviction.

She pleaded guilty to child abuse after a 2011 incident in which Munoz shot and killed two intruders attempting to rob her of drugs that she was selling out of her Aurora apartment home. Authorities said Munoz had endangered her then 2-year-old daughter, who was present during the shooting.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

Comments

Leave a Reply