Trinity man gets deferred adjudication for killing Lufkin teen in drunk-driving accident

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

SAN JACINTO COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -  A visiting judge in San Jacinto County placed a Trinity man to deferred adjudication for his role in the drunk-driving death of a Lufkin teenager. Justin Sutton's sentencing has created an uproar from the family and the San Jacinto district attorney.

"That's probably the most disappointing day I've ever had," said Bill Burnett, district attorney.

"To have that happen when you were thinking your going to get justice served," said Angie Medellin, victim's mother. "I waited so long Jena for this day and nothing happened, nothing happened. I really have nothing else to look forward to."

Sutton killed Eduardo Medellin Jr., 14, in a horrific drunk driving accident two years ago. Three Lufkin children in the suburban, aged 5, 10 and 13, were also injured in the wreck, about 2.5 miles north of Shepherd.

"There was a body impression in the top of the Medellin's suburban that we believe was Eduardo Jr., the oldest child," said Burnett.

According to previous reports, Justin Sutton rear-ended the Medellin family's Chevy Suburban, causing it to flip at least three times. Despite wearing their seat belts, all four children were ejected from their vehicle. Eduardo Jr., 14, was killed in the wreck and Eric, who was 13 at the time, lost one of his legs.

Eduardo's mother, Angie said the accident has brutalized her family. "Today, I'm here in Houston on our last attempt to save Eric's leg," she said.

Burnett said he was stunned the visiting judge from Liberty County sentenced Sutton to ten years of deferred adjudication for intoxicated manslaughter, a punishment Burnett said is actually illegal. "Under the law in Texas you cannot place someone on deferred adjudication probation for intoxication manslaughter," he said.

The judge sentenced him to four concurrent sentences of ten years in jail for intoxicated assault. "However the judge advised him from the bench that he would be eligible after he served 160 days to file a motion for shock probation," said Burnett.

After that, Sutton would be placed in a jail-based drug and alcohol treatment facility for six months to a year. "As a prosecutor I think the criminal justice system has failed the Medellin family," said Burnett.

"Six months is definitely not enough because he did not give me six more months with my son," said Angie. "He did not give me ten years probation with my son and like I told him on Friday your mother is going to get to visit you, I don't have that. I don't have that with my son. I will never see him again."

Sutton must also pay $60,000 in restitution to Eric Medellin.

Burnett said he is in the process of overturning the sentencing. He said he will continue to fight the punishment that he calls illegal until justice is served.

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