EDINBURG (August 27, 2014) Junior Benjamin Rodriguez, 17, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter in a 2012 wreck that killed nine immigrants.
Rodriguez, who was sentenced Tuesday, was 15 when the van he was driving, carrying at least 17 immigrants, flipped as he fled from Border Patrol agents.
Rodriguez was originally charged with nine counts of murder, but prosecutors reduced the charges to manslaughter as part a plea deal.
Rodriguez will be eligible for parole in 2018.
He told Hidalgo County District Judge Israel Ramon that he didn't intend for the wreck to happen and said he was "very sorry."
Ramon said it was difficult to overlook the immigrants' deaths.