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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Justice chief evaluates appealing probation determination in fatal hit-and-run case

Natalia Nicole Ayala Rivera (Facebook photo)

By The Star Staff

Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández said Thursday that he is evaluating an appeal following the sentence imposed on Carlos Julián Maldonado Dávila in a fatal hit-and-run accident that took the life of a young woman last year.

“The Department of Justice is evaluating whether the sentence imposed by the Judge on Carlos Julián Maldonado today was issued correctly in law and to determine whether an appeal is appropriate,” Emanuelli Hernández in a written statement.

Earlier in the day, Emanuelli Hernández expressed his disagreement with the sentence handed down to Maldonado Dávila for the death of Natalia Nicole Ayala Rivera, arguing that it does not do justice to the victims or their families.

“With all the respect that the court deserves, this sentence does not do justice to the victims and their families, especially when the intentional and reckless actions of Carlos Julián Maldonado Dávila were demonstrated after taking the life of Natalia Nicole and causing physical harm to Carlos Adhil,” Emanuelli Hernández said in a written statement.

“Nor does it represent a deterrent for those people who, due to their clear negligence and reckless driving, as proven in court, cause the death of other citizens on the roads,” he added.

The Justice secretary highlighted the work of prosecutors Ángel García and Fabiola Acaron in proving the guilt of Maldonado Dávila, but pointed out that in the justice system the sentence is up to the judge. He said the Department of Justice did its job responsibly by presenting all the evidence and achieving the conviction.

Maldonado Dávila was sentenced to a 10-year suspended sentence for the accident that caused the death of Ayala Rivera and injuries to Carlos Adihl Sosa Bigio. Judge Nerisvel C. Durán Guzmán determined that the convicted man will not serve jail time.

The incident occurred on Jan. 5, 2022, when young Ayala Rivera was changing a tire on her vehicle and was hit by an SUV driven by Maldonado Dávila, who did not stop to offer help or inform the authorities.

Durán Guzmán is also the presiding judge in the case of the Nov. 21, 2021 drunk-driving death of Justin Santos, brother of rapper and singer-songwriter Austin Santos -- who performs as “Arcángel” -- caused by Mayra Enid Nevárez Torres.

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