The brother of a man killed in the Interstate 70 crash in Colorado says he is against the major reduction of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos’s sentence from 110 years to 10 years, calling the Governor responsible a “despicable human being.”
Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced the commutation of Aguilera-Mederos’s sentence on Thursday, December 30th after several weeks of uproar from the trucking community. The reduction in sentencing follows the scheduling of a reconsideration hearing for January 13th.
Now, Duane Bailey, whose brother, William “Bill” Bailey, was killed in the I-70 crash, says that Polis caved to pressure on social media, and that he even intentionally announced the commutation during the recent Marshall Fire in Colorado so that the announcement might go unnoticed.
“As far as I’m concerned, [Polis] undermined the integrity of the courts,” Duane Bailey told CBS4.
“The governor has decided political and social media pressure is more important than the victims of this crash,” Bailey continued.
“This was not an accident, it was a series of decisions on the part of the driver that caused [four] deaths. The jury heard the evidence and convicted him. The governor put himself above the law by not letting the court proceedings finish out. There was a hearing scheduled on January 13th to reconsider his sentence. The governor should have let that hearing take place.”
“On top of that,” Bailey continued, “[Polis] made the announcement when he knew people would be focused on the tragic fires. So In a way he also took advantage of them to provide coverage so he could announce this without much news coverage. You all should be upset about that. You also have to realize [Aguilera-Mederos] will not spend the entire 10 years the governor put his sentence at. He could get out in as little as 5 years. Would your brother’s life be adequately compensated if he spent 1 1/4 years per death in prison?”
Bailey went on to say “we as a society put penalties in place to punish those that do wrong and give an adequate incentive for others not to commit the same crime. The prosecutor was going to suggest 20-30 years. A number I would have supported,” he stated. “We did not hear the 110 year number until minutes before sentencing. Nobody thought that number was correct. We all agreed with the 20-30 years was what we could support.”