MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The self-proclaimed “Pothead Princess” — Kayla Mendoza — wants to have her prison sentence reduced from 24 years to 10 years. Mendoza made the request in an apologetic letter to Judge David Haimes, who sentenced her less than three months ago.
“I’d like to get out and be involved in Mothers Against Drunk Driving with the victim’s families,” Mendoza wrote. “I can’t bring back the lives I took, but I can if I’m allowed, help save lives.”
She added, “I don’t ever want another family to be broken like the families that have been broken because of me. I’ve learned that choices are not accidents. I am owning up to my poor choices and asking for a chance to show you that I can and am ready to make the right choices.”
In the letter, Mendoza says she plans to take substance abuse classes and is open to any amount of probation or community control that the judge sees fit. She also said that she wants to work and earn money to pay restitution, court costs and the money she owes the victim’s in their civil lawsuit.
“Please, Your Honor,” she wrote. “Give me a chance to try and fix things.”
Christine Ferrante,the mother of Kaitlyn, one of the victims killed in the crash, learned of the letter on Wednesday and said she was appalled.
“She can’t fix things,” Ferrante told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “How can she bring back Marisa and Katie? That’s fixing things and she can’t do that.”
Ferrante said the victim’s families are dealing with a lifetime sentence of heartbreak and that Mendoza should serve her punishment.
“Our daughters don’t have the option of saying, ‘I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be in an urn. I don’t want to be in a casket.” She has the nerve to say that she’s learned her lesson?”
Gary Catronio, the father of Marisa who was also killed, is stunned at Mendoza’s request just months after she landed in prison.
“If the system even considers something like this, I have no respect for the system that we have called justice,” he said.
Catronio said under her sentence, Mendoza should be out of prison around her early 40’s.
“To get out of prison and be a young person at 40, that’s plenty of life left,” he said. “I’d take that in a heartbeat for our daughters.”
Judge Haimes asked prosecutors to respond to Mendoza’s request within 90 days. The Catronio’s and Ferrante’s plan to make their feelings known.
Mendoza’s lawyer, John Trevena, said that he was not aware of the letter and that Mendoza sent it on her own.
Catronio said the sentencing should stand as is.
“Do your time,” he said. “You did the crime. Leave us alone. Leave the band aid on our wound and let it heal, which it never will.”