Is this Justice ?

by George A. Manolatos
(Richmond VA)

Carol Thomas Cooper

Carol Thomas Cooper

Published: June 4, 2009 Richmond Times-Dispatch
A man from Guatemala was sentenced to 3½ years in prison today for killing a Chesterfield County woman in a drunken-driving crash that left the victim pinned against the side of a convenience store.
Circuit Judge Michael C. Allen sentenced Alberto Candino Bamaca, 39, to a total of 21 years but suspended 17 ½ years of that term on convictions of involuntary manslaughter, felony hit-and-run driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Bamaca had pleaded guilty to the offense Jan. 12.
In meting out punishment, the judge sentenced Bamaca to just under the maximum recommended under state sentencing guidelines, which called for a low of one year and five months to three years and nine months.
"It was a terrible death," Allen said.
But he noted that Bamaca did not intend to kill Carol A. Cooper, 53, and had no prior criminal record or any known problems with drug or alcohol abuse. Yet Allen also took into account that Bamaca fled from the scene after the crash.
According to evidence, Bamaca was driving drunk about 11:40 p.m. Aug. 2 when he pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store at Jefferson Davis Highway and Dundas Road. While apparently attempting to park, Bamaca struck Cooper in the lot, pinning her between Bamaca's minivan and the side of the building, according to prosecutor Dennis Duncan.
Bamaca then jumped out of the vehicle and ran.
A bystander at the scene had to back the vehicle up to free Cooper from the building. She died at the scene.
Police later tracked Bamaca down at his apartment and arrested him. Duncan said Bamaca tried to flee out the rear door when police arrived.
For more details from inside the courtroom, see tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch

Posted by the man who was to marry Carol Cooper George Manolatos

Comments for Is this Justice ?

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Sep 06, 2009
No justice
by: Carrie

I'm so sorry for your loss. This journey of grief has many twists and turns that cannot be understood when it comes to our laws. My 22 year old son was killed by a drunk driver in Florida 12 years ago. His... hmmmm..."killer's" driving record is full of dui(s), driving on suspended license(s), careless driving, speeding, and now vehicular homicide, and serious bodily injury, etc. (Another boy is now a quad from this car crash.) After 6 years of total freedom and no treatment, this person was given a 15 year probation (2 yrs. house arrest) because it was said he was suffering from traumatic brain injury and couldn't understand court proceedings. (There were sightings of him all around during this house arrest, and I could not get a parole officier to do anything) After 2 years he became a personal trainer at a country club... hmmm...not competent to stand trial? So now he's been caught for violating parole (drinking, drugging, slugging his girlfriend. He was running down the shoulder of "Interstate 1" when a policeman witnessed him running and slugging the girl. He is actually out on bail(?) and will soon have to face charges of VOP after the battery charges. Wonder what will happen??? Nothing? Probably. If he goes to prison, it won't bring my son back (so you bleeding hearts out there... do not lecture me or talk to me about forgiveness because that is another issue). If he gets off... there will be another Floridian missing their loved one(s) because he WILL kill again. He has addictions, and is no respector of the law. Our state of Florida, his friends, and family have allowed this to continue. Everyone close to him enables him and bails him out. Shame on all of 9/11 happened on July 26, 1997. Grief can become a very lonely place when you are trying to fight for justice...I won't give up. A person like this will never make the decision to help himself while surrounded by enablers. I want him in prison. My 9/11 happened on 7/26/97. Everything good that happens in my family's life is always bittersweet because our son and brother is not here where is supposed to be. We keep smiling, but our hearts have a piece missing that cannot be replaced. God bless all of you who have walked in my shoes....

Jul 13, 2009
So Unfair
by: Penney

The murderer gets 3 1/2 years while the victim gets the death penalty and the surviving loved ones have the life sentence. It will be 6 mths Tuesday and there are still days just a glance at his picture throws me into hysterical crying jags. 21 Forever is our story and to my knowledge our case has not even been forwarded to the DA. I feel your pain and anger and loss. You have my deepest sympathy and are in my prayers.

Jun 05, 2009
by: Crissy Fullerton

My family lost one of our own and she was only 14 in 2006. 6 years was all that the offender Will Lighty of Junction City Oregon received.I have heard the sentence "He didn't intend to kill anyone" one too many times. It doesn't matter if you intended to kill. In the end a person has been killed and the offender has to pay for his crime.
I'm sorry that you have experienced such a tragic loss because it will forever change who you are. Continue to share your story and show off that beautiful picture you have.

Jun 05, 2009
Similiar Story
by: Suzanne In Connecticut

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss....Unfortunately, I get a notice from this website a little more often then I should...You would think these stories would or SHOULD come less frequently...But they keep coming.....My husband was killed by a drunk driver on Easter Sunday 2006....The guy that killed my husband, was from Hungry and was not a citizen of the United States, to make a long story short, he fled the country when it was time for him to make his plea...coward couldn't take resposiblity for what he did...It's very unsettling, and I myself and my husband's family have no closure, we just want him to take responsiblity for what he did...We don't want blood or PAY BACK...WE just want him to OWN WHAT HE DID....People don't realize, that not only does a drunk driver take the life of the victim, but there are SOOOOO MANY other victims in a drunk driving case...The family and friends of the victim are forever changed...I was 42 when my husband was killed, and I feel as thought my life is over....I've lived the best part of my life, and what's left...I'm 45 now, and I'm just waking up from the nightmare....It hurts, and I'm not sure it will ever stop hurting...I hope our stories get to the right people and make a difference....we can only hope....Drinking and Driving is not an option...My deepest condolences for you loss...I posted my husbands story on this website as well...I get responses every now and then, and its comforting to know your not comforting as that can be in this situation....Best regards.

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