SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: After deliberating for over four hours, the jury has been unable to reach a verdict in the punishment phase in the trial of Rosalinda Olalde, who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault on Wednesday.
During closing arguments in the punishment phase of Olalde's trial, prosecutors asked the jury to sentence her to “the high end” of the punishment range. The maximum is 20 years in prison. Her lawyers asked for nine years’ probation.
Just after 9 p.m. Thursday, the jury was sent home with orders to return in the morning to resume deliberations.
The damage caused by a fatal DWI crash the night of Aug. 10, 2018, went far beyond the twisted wreckage of the vehicles involved.
Emotional scars left from the wreck were clearly visible Thursday during the punishment phase of Rosalinda Olalde’s trial.
Olalde, 24, was found guilty Wednesday of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
According to testimony, Olalde was driving 80 mph and her blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when she lost control of her SUV, veered onto a sidewalk and slammed broadside into a car that was trying to enter the 6500 block of Loop 1604 from a parking lot. Killed in the crash was the driver, 22-year-old Mario Velasquez-Palau.
His sister was among those who delivered heart-wrenching testimony Thursday.
“Everything changed, my parents will never be the same,” said Valerie Velasquez-Palau while sobbing on the witness stand. “We were always a close family. He was everything to us.”
Four passengers in Velasquez-Palau’s car were critically injured, including Guendy Murrillo, who also testified.
“It changed my life because I feel like nothing’s the same,” Murrillo said. “Losing somebody who was that close, it’s really like losing a brother.”
Testimony wasn’t limited to emotions Thursday.
Defense attorneys called an adult probation expert to discuss specific conditions of probation, which Oladle is eligible for. She has no criminal history.
Olalde could face a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in prison.