WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A woman convicted of murder in the drunk driving death of a 4-year-old boy has received her sentence.
Migel Juanita Matthew, 32, was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the murder of Christian Redmond, who died on the scene of a DWI crash in December 2021.
A jury made up of six men and six women reached a verdict on the punishment after around two hours of deliberation on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
The jury convicted Matthew on Friday, April 22, after less than an hour of deliberation.
Matthew was behind the wheel with Redmond’s mother and four siblings before crashing and ejecting five of the seven passengers, killing Christian.
In their plea for a sentence in the minimum range for murder, the defense focused on the difficult life Matthew had growing up in poverty in the Caribbean.
Matthew testified Monday she was raped and abused from ages 5 to 16 and started drinking when she was just 8 years old.
Matthew’s defense attorney Gant Grimes told the jury he was not making excuses for what Matthew.
Gant told the jury Matthew and alcohol are like holding a wolf by the ears, scared of what might happen if she lets go. He said the longer she is in prison, the longer it will take for her to get into a better alcohol treatment program.
Gant said Matthew feels genuine remorse and can never forget Christian.
In response, District Attorney John Gillespie said even now Matthew continues to minimize how much she drank and how fast she was driving before she crashed.
Gillespie said according to one doctor, it would take around 10 shots of liquor to have the .188 blood alcohol level one and a half hours after the wreck.
Police estimate Matthew’s speed on a curve at more than 100 miles per hour, while she said she was going 80 to 85 miles per hour.
Gillespie said while she may have no prior convictions, her first offense is murder of a child and asked them to consider no less than 45 years.
Gillespie told the jury the sentencing they decide on reflects the value they put on a child’s life.
Christian’s four siblings who survived have also lost their mother for several years after she was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter in connection to her son’s death.
As if the loss of their brother and mother weren’t tragic enough, their father is facing trial for a DWI with child passengers charge that happened after the fatal wreck.
That wreck happened last September and all four children were again in the vehicle.
Matthew will be eligible for parole in 30 years.
More from the murder trial
- Monday, April 18 — Jury selection begins
- Tuesday, April 19 — Trial begins, witnesses testify
- Wednesday, April 20 — Victim’s siblings testify
- Friday, April 22 — Verdict reached
- Monday, April 25 — Punishment phase, Matthew takes stand