Suspect with nine previous DUI offenses sentenced to 35 years in attorney's death
The last two-and-a-half years have been a roller coaster of emotions for the family of Lexington attorney Mark Hinkel.
"Each holiday you think it's going to be better and each holiday is as bad as the one before," Mary Hinkel said.
Hinkel died in 2015 after being hit by a suspected driver. The attorney was participating in the Horsey Hundred at the time, riding on Lemons Mill Road in Scott County.
Earlier this year, Odilon Paz-Salvador pleaded guilty in the case. He changed his mind last month, asking the judge to withdraw his guilty plea. On Friday, the judge said he would not grant Paz-Salvador's appeal and instead, sentenced Paz Salvador to 35 years in prison.
"Obviously we would like him to be in jail for life, but our goal is to keep him in jail for those 35 years," Mary Hinkel said.
Paz-Salvador asked Hinkel's family for forgiveness.
“I’m really sorry. It wasn’t my intention for that to happen. If I could fix it I would fix it,” he said.
“You took away my husband of 35 years,” Mary-Lynn Hinkel say to Paz-Salvador. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think something like this would happen.”
She said the pain of what happened can't be taken away.
“You have no respect for life,” she said. “Today when you said you’re sorry for what you did, I don’t know if you are or not.”
Paz-Salvador has nine prior DUI's.
"Every time he got behind that wheel he knew he was putting someone's life in danger and I believe his comment was when they pulled him over was 'I ain't never killed nobody yet'. Well, you did," Hinkel added.
She believes her husband helped her get through this long process.
"I knew today was going to be hard, but I got up this morning and thought I can do this, I can do it," she said. "And maybe it was his strength. He sent me his strength to be able to do this, but it's over. We don't ever have to come back to this courtroom again.