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Donte' Stallworth gets 30 days for DUI manslaughter - Michael Vick gets 570 days for dogfighting?

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Stallworth Pedestrian Kille.jpg

Donte Stallworth at his plea deal sentencing Tuesday in Miami.

Vick Release.jpgCleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth took full responsibility for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida and agreed to plead guilty to DUI manslaughter in Miami today.

The price paid for taking a man's life while driving drunk? Thirty days.

To put that in perspective, Michael Vick, who is currently serving house arrest in his Virginia home, was originally sentenced to nearly two years for running a dogfighting ring. Abusing animals is a heinous crime and this is not intended to downplay that at all, but a man's life was lost through criminal irresponsibility and Stallworth works a deal that gets him a short month in jail and two years of house arrest and eight years of probation.

How is this justice in any way again? Stallworth had been facing 15 years and got off by any measure with an incredibly light sentence. Consider this story of a 17-year-old facing the same circumstances who came away with a 24-year sentence.

Stallworth also reached a confidential financial settlement to avoid a potential lawsuit from the family of 59-year-old Mario Reyes, who was struck and killed March 14 by Stallworth - driving his black 2005 Bentley after a night drinking at the swanky Miami Beach Fountainebleau hotel bar.

Stallworth, 28, told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy that he hopes to get involved in drunken driving education programs.

"I accept full responsibility for this horrible tragedy," said Stallworth, who was accompanied at the hearing by his parents, siblings and other supporters. "I will bear this burden for the rest of my life."

After his release from jail, Stallworth must serve two years of house arrest and spend eight years on probation.

The NFL has said it will review the matter for possible disciplinary action, though the plea agreement will allow Stallworth to resume his football career.

Stallworth also must undergo drug and alcohol testing, will have a lifetime driver's license suspension and must perform 1,000 hours of community service. Lyons said after five years, Stallworth could win approval for limited driving such as for employment.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle cited Stallworth's lack of previous criminal record, cooperation with police and willingness to accept responsibility as factors in the plea deal. Rundle also said the Reyes family -- particularly the victim's 15-year-old daughter -- wanted the case resolved to avoid any more pain.

,p>"For all of these reasons, a just resolution of this case has been reached," Rundle said.

Stallworth hit Reyes, a construction crane operator who was rushing to catch a bus after finishing his shift around 7:15 a.m. Stallworth told police he flashed his lights in an attempt to warn Reyes, who was not in a crosswalk when he was struck.

Stallworth, who had a blood-alcohol level of .126 after the crash, well above Florida's .08 limit, stopped after the crash and immediately told officers he had hit Reyes. Police estimated Stallworth was driving about 50 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Stallworth signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns before last season but was injured much of the year. The California native and University of Tennessee college star has also played in the NFL for New England, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

The night before the crash, Stallworth earned a $4.5 million roster bonus from the Browns.

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This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on June 16, 2009 12:26 PM.

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