Man convicted in alcohol-related 1986 deaths sentenced in other DUI case

Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A man convicted in the alcohol-related deaths of two brothers 14 years ago has been sentenced in another case involving alcohol.

Richard Coleman was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in prison for his second drunken-driving conviction following the 1986 accident. Coleman, 36, was stopped in November near the same intersection of the deadly accident, after he was seen weaving across the center lines.

Coleman also had been drinking on the night he ran a red light and crashed into a pickup truck carrying Alejando Gloria, 25, and Raul Gloria, 21. Both brothers died.

In that case, Coleman was originally charged with two counts of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading no contest to reduced charges of manslaughter.

Coleman also was convicted of drunken driving in 1995, and sentenced to 20 days in prison.

''You are close, in the court's mind, to a worst offender when you continue to have drunken-driving convictions,'' District Court Judge Raymond Funk said during Tuesday's sentencing. ''The community needs to be protected from your ever sitting behind the wheel of a car while drinking.''

On Nov. 24, 1999, Coleman had a blood-alcohol content of .188 per-cent--considerably higher than the legal driving limit of .10--when he was stopped, according to Alaska State Troopers. He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor DWI charge, and the state dismissed a citation for driving left of the center line.

Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Kao asked Tuesday for the maximum penalty: a year in prison.

Defense attorney Art Robson said Coleman has problems with alcohol but does not have an alcohol problem, according to treatment assessments. Instead, Coleman recently found out he has been suffering from depression associated with a previously undiagnosed degenerative muscle condition, Robson said.

''Now I can see what produced the last one,'' Robson said of Coleman's drunken driving. ''I can hope that will not exist to produce the next one.''



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