Skip to comments.[Texas] US trucker resentenced to nearly 34 years for role in deaths of 19 smuggled immigrants
Posted on 01/24/2011 3:19:36 PM PST by SwinneySwitch
HOUSTON A truck driver was resentenced to nearly 34 years in prison on Monday after a federal appeals court last year overturned the multiple life sentences he received for his role in America's deadliest human smuggling attempt, which resulted in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants from Central America.
The new sentence of 405 months that Tyrone Williams was given during a court hearing is equal to the longest prison term he previously got in the case, for another count that was upheld on appeal.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Daniel Rodriguez made an impassioned plea that despite the appeals court's ruling, the truck driver deserved to remain in prison for life for the deadly May 2003 smuggling attempt in which Williams transported a group of immigrants inside a sweltering tractor-trailer.
Rodriguez said that during the smuggling attempt from South Texas to Houston, Williams heard the immigrants begging and screaming for their lives as they were succumbing to the stifling heat inside his vehicle but he refused to free them.
"He alone decided not to open those doors," Rodriguez said. "When it comes to the deaths of those 19 people, there really is only one person responsible for that."
But before he was resentenced, a tearful Williams told U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal that he did not merit a life sentence because he wasn't capable of all the "crazy stuff" prosecutors had accused him of doing and that the deaths were an accident.
"If I had known those people were in trouble like that, I would have opened those doors. I don't kill people, your honour," Williams, 39, said after taking a break to compose himself. "I live with regret every day of my life."
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Williams abandoned the trailer at a truck stop near Victoria, about 100 miles (160 kilometres) southwest of Houston. Williams, an immigrant from Jamaica who lived in Schenectady, New York, was later arrested in Houston.
Seventeen people, including a 5-year-old boy, were found dead in the trailer. Two others died later. All the deaths were attributed to dehydration, overheating and suffocation.'
Tyrone Williams, illegal alien smuggler