MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami-Dade County judge sentenced Carlos Bertonatti to 12 years in prison for his DUI manslaughter conviction in the death of cyclist Christophe LeCanne in 2010.
The sentence specified Bertonatti, 32, has to serve at least four years of the sentence, once he’s released he will be put on two years house arrest, and then be placed on eight years of probation. Bertonatti has already served 27 months in jail.
“I’m dumbfounded, I’m completely dumbfounded as to why Carlos Bertonatti got a sentence of 12 years,” said Bertonatti’s attorney Robert Pertierra.
Bertonatti pleaded guilty in February to DUI manslaughter. He said he had been drinking at Club Space in downtown Miami on January 10, 2010.
“The decision’s made by Carlos Bertonatti on that date cruelly and irreparably destroyed life as it was known to the entire LeCanne family,” Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Bronwyn Miller said.
Bertonatti was driving home to Key Biscayne when his 2007 Volkswagen Jetta struck 44-year-old LeCanne as he was riding on the Bear Cut Bridge.
In court Wednesday, Bertonatti’s brother, Miguel, broke down in tears as he refused to give testimony that could help lessen Carlos’s sentence.
Miguel Bertonatti invoked his 5th Amendment privilege even though he told prosecutors earlier in the week that he had secretly used his brother’s identity when he racked up more than a dozen tickets over the years.
Prosecutors used Bertonatti’s reckless driving history against him in pushing for a lengthy prison sentence.
State guidelines called for a sentence of between 11 ½ and 37 years.
“The LeCanne family is going to be pleased that at last they can put their son to rest and they can move on,” Miami-Dade prosecutor Warren Eth said. “This was a 100% preventable incident. Don’t drink and don’t drive. It’s as simple as that.”
Bertonatti’s defense team asked for the minimum sentence of 4 years, citing recent high profile DUI manslaughter cases, including Karlie Tomica’s.
In Tomica’s case, she had a plea deal along with the blessing of the victim’s family.
Without a plea deal, Bertonatti’s fate was left entirely up to the judge.
“Everybody in this courthouse for this type of crime it’s an accident for heaven’s sakes. He’s shown remorse, he doesn’t have a bad driving record, it was an isolated incident and you can’t claim this was a sophisticated crime. I find it very disturbing that that finding was made. Carlos doesn’t deserve 12 years.”
Pertierra vowed to appeal the sentence.
Bertonatti must also speak on a victim impact panel and complete 100 hours of community service.
His family broke down in tears after the sentence was handed down.
LeCanne’s family was not in court. His widow and child live in France.