Addict gets 20 years for walker's death
A man who admitted he was high on "ice" and painkillers and falling asleep at the wheel when he fatally struck a 76-year-old pedestrian was sentenced yesterday to the maximum 20 years in prison.
Andres Paredes, 33, pleaded guilty earlier to manslaughter for causing the death of Barbara Gallicchio, an avid exerciser who was taking an early morning walk around Diamond Head on March 12, 2004.
Circuit Court Judge Dexter Del Rosario said jail was warranted because Paredes caused a death because of his drug use. While he did not believe one year in jail was sufficient, 20 years appeared to be excessive given Paredes' history, Del Rosario said.
Paredes has no prior convictions, comes from a prominent family in the Philippines that supported and enabled him to go to better schools and graduate, and he struggled with a drug addiction that he was unable to address.
Del Rosario said he will leave it up to the parole board to decide how much time Paredes must serve before he can be rehabilitated.
Paredes apologized yesterday for his actions, saying it was his fault that Gallicchio died and that he was ready to accept his punishment.
Despite being blessed with a supportive family, friends and good health, he said he allowed drugs to take over his life.
"When I'm taking drugs, I can't imagine my life without it," he said. Now that he has been sober and behind bars for two years, "I don't understand why I took drugs."
He said he believes he can be a productive member of society and that as soon as he completes his prison term, he vowed never to return to jail again. "This is my first time in jail, and jail is not for me," he said.
Deputy public defender Travis Stephens said Paredes took responsibility from the time he struck Gallicchio. He pulled over after realizing he might have hit something, and called for help when he saw Gallicchio on the side of the road.
When Paredes learned that Gallicchio had died, he tried to commit suicide by trying to get the officers to shoot him, Stephens said.
Even before he had met with his attorney, Paredes had already decided he was going to accept responsibility for taking another person's life by not contesting the charge against him and sparing Gallicchio's family from a trial.
Paredes was charged with federal firearm and drug offenses for a shotgun and packets of crystal methamphetamine found in his car. He served 16 months in federal prison for those offenses.