Bani Marcela Duarte, a San Clemente woman who was found guilty of murdering three Las Vegas teenagers and injuring a fourth while driving under the influence in 2018, was sentenced to 51 years to life in prison late last month.
On Oct. 1, the 29-year-old was convicted of three felony counts of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and a sentencing enhancement of great bodily injury, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Duarte had a blood alcohol level of .30 at the time of the collision that killed Brooke Hawley, 17; Dylan Mack, 18; and Albert Rossi, 17, as well as injuring a fourth teenager in the early morning hours of March 29, 2018.
The high school students were celebrating their spring break in Orange County, the DA noted.
According to the DA, the victims’ parents gave emotional victim impact statements in court on Feb. 27.
“The impact will not be over for me until the day I take my last breath,” said Rhonda Hawley, Brooke Hawley’s mother.
“Ms. Duarte, you will be able to see your children through glass in jail,” said Albert J. Rossi, father of Albert Rossi. “If I want to see my son, I have to go to a cemetery. That’s thanks to you, Ms. Duarte.”
“I would give anything to hear his laugh and feel his hugs again,” said Renee Mack, Dylan Mack’s mother. “I keep waiting for him to walk through our door again—and he never will.”
Duarte had been driving on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach when she failed to stop at a red light and rear-ended the victims’ vehicle at a high rate of speed. Duarte was arrested at the scene by the Huntington Beach Police Department.
“There was no reason for these three young people to have lost their lives to a repeat drunk driver,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the release. “I have prosecuted these cases myself, and they are devastating to the families, the community, to the law enforcement officers who investigate these cases and to our own prosecutors who fight for justice.”