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Published: Saturday, 12/22/2012

Appeals court overturns sentence

BOWLING GREEN — The 6th District Court of Appeals has ruled that a McClure, Ohio, man should not have been sentenced for drunken driving when he was sentenced for multiple courts of aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular assault stemming from a 2008 car crash that killed a Weston, Ohio, couple.

The appellate court said the drunken-driving conviction of Cory Mendoza, now 23, should have been merged with the more serious felonies rather than treated as a separate offense when Mendoza was sentenced by Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry.

“The idea being in this situation that you can’t be convicted and sentenced separately for injuring or killing someone while you’re driving drunk and then be separately convicted of driving drunk, because it’s all the same event,” county Prosecutor Paul Dobson said Tuesday.

After a jury found Mendoza guilty in the Oct. 5, 2008, deaths of William and Sharon DeWitt, both 69, and the injuries to the DeWitts’ daughter Shelen Stevens and a passenger in Mendoza’s car, Alivia Baron, Judge Mayberry sentenced him to a total of 39 years in prison. That included 10 days for the drunken-driving charge that were to run concurrently to the prison sentence.

A new hearing date has not been set.

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