ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A decorated war veteran who hit and killed a man while driving drunk will not go to prison. As Steven Deskin was sentenced Tuesday, the victim’s mother spoke of forgiveness as Deskin shared his journey to redemption.
Driving more than 100 mph down Montgomery with his two kids in the car, Steven Deskin plowed into Ramon Roasas in December 2017, killing him.
At Deskin’s sentencing Tuesday, the District Attorney’s office asked Judge Cristina Jaramillo to give him 12 years in prison. Judge Jaramillo decided against time behind bars, however, citing Deskin’s trauma he suffered in Afghanistan as a soldier, as well as the rehabilitation he’s completed since the crash.
“There can be no doubt that Mr. Deskin’s service, Mr. Deskin’s experience is truly exceptional,” Art Cody said.
Cody is with the Veteran’s Advocacy Project and spoke about the trauma that Deskin went through while serving.
“He’s honorably discharged, he has a combat tour and he won numerous awards,” he said.
Then Deskin himself addressed the court.
“No matter what happens today, I can promise you I will never drink again. I don’t want to be that person ever again,” Deskin said.
He spoke of his time in the STAR program, which helps veterans who have substance abuse issues.
“I can honestly tell you that it has changed my life. I only wish I was given the chance when I got back from Afghanistan,” Deskin continued.
Then, the victim’s mother, who has shown forgiveness to Deskin at previous court hearings, spoke. She even gave him a hug before the judge handed down her decision.
“In balancing justice, yes, we can look at punishment and retribution of revenge, but does that really solve anything,” Judge Jaramillo said.
Judge Jaramillo then sentenced Deskin to five years probation. The judge says she wants Deskin to continue his treatment. He says he’s been sober for the last two years.