CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A repeat drunk driver is heading to prison for killing a beloved grandmother last summer.
Thursday morning, a judge sentenced Kelly Conkin to 12 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Last August, police say Conkin's Hyundai crossed the media on South Tryon Street, killing 79-year-old Cecilia De Gonzalez, who was visiting her children and grandchildren in Charlotte.
There’s a very sad irony to the case because Cecilia’s daughter says she never liked alcohol, especially drinking and driving. Now, she wants people to remember that message.
“There will never be justice because we can never get our mother back,” says Sonia Rocio Gonzalez, Cecilia’s daughter.
For Cecilia’s four broken hearted daughters at court on Thursday, there are questions no justice system can answer.
“Why did this have to happen? For her to answer that for herself,” says Sonia.
She’s referring to Conkin, who pleaded guilty to the drunk driving crash that killed Cecilia Gonzalez.
“Ms. Gonzalez has helped me find God, and I would like to share that with as many people as possible, I hope one day you will know how truly sorry I am and I will continue to pray for your forgiveness,” Conkin said in court.
“It helped to know that she’s sorry, and I hope this never happens again,” says Sonia.
Conkin is a repeat offender with convictions in each of the Carolinas. Despite those convictions, she had a driver's license at the time of the crash. A criminal defense attorney explained how some cases slip through the cracks.
“You get a conviction in a state then you go to another state doesn’t know about this DWI in the other state and they issue you a license,” says attorney Mark Jetton.
The issue of drunk driving continues to haunt the Gonzalez family. They hope a message from their mother saves others from the same pain.
“She was always against drinking and of course drinking and driving, so if anything, we want to leave a message in her honor please do not drink and drive,” says Sonia.
Conkin’s attorney told us she’s not a heartless person, but just someone with an addiction. However, he says that’s an explanation, not an excuse for what happened.