Judge Sentences Carlos Bertonatti to 12 Years in Prison in Fatal DUI Hit-And-Run Crash With Cyclist

Judge hands down sentence Thursday for South Florida musician who killed a cyclist.

A South Florida musician who killed a cyclist in a 2010 hit-and-run crash was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bronwyn Miller issued the sentence to Carlos Bertonatti in the death of Christophe LeCanne at a 10:30 a.m. hearing.

"The decisions made by Carlos Bertonatti on that date cruelly and irreparably destroyed life as it was known to the entire LeCanne family," Miller said. "Mr. Bertonatti's actions extinguished the life of a loving husband, father and an outstanding human being."

Bertonatti, 32, will get credit for time served, Miller said. After prison he will spend two years on community control followed by eight years on probation. He will also serve on a victim impact panel and complete 100 hours of community service.

"When everybody in this courthouse gets four or five years for this type of crime and Carlos Bertonatti gets 12, I find that patently unfair," said defense attorney Robert Pertierra, who had asked the judge for a four-year sentence. "I don't understand the court ruling, we will appeal the court's ruling."

Bertonatti pleaded guilty in February in the January 2010 crash that killed LeCanne on the Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne.

Police said Bertonatti hit LeCanne, 44, who was riding his bike in the bike lane, and drove off with LeCanne's bike still under his car for nearly three miles. His blood alcohol level was .122, over Florida's legal limit of .08, authorities later said.

Bertonatti had been charged with DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest without violence. Despite having no plea deal, he pleaded guilty to every charge except leaving the scene of a crash.

"The state of Florida is very thankful for the judge's very thoughtful and just sentence," Prosecutor Warren Eth said after the hearing.

Eth said he would be calling LeCanne's family, which lives in France, later Thursday to tell them the news.

"The LeCanne family obviously is touched, they've been waiting three years for this," he said.

Sentencing in the case began Monday, with Bertonatti taking back his use of the word "accident" to describe the incident when pleading guilty in February.

"And so for the sake of and out of respect for the LeCanne family, I would happily take that statement back and call it an incident rather than an accident. I think that’s more appropriate," Bertonatti said Monday.

On Wednesday, Bertonatti's brother Miguel Bertonatti took the stand but invoked his right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment. Miguel Bertonatti was expected to help his brother after he admitted Monday in court that he had secretly used his brother's identity when he received more than a dozen traffic citations over the years.

Prosecutors were seeking to use Carlos Bertonatti's reckless driving history against him. Instead, Miguel Bertonatti pleaded the Fifth Wednesday and broke into tears under questioning. Although he invoked his right to remain silent, he answered some questions from the defense, affirming he did not have a license between 2005 and 2013.

After his attorney asked to speak with him during questioning, Miguel Bertonatti began to plead the Fifth again.

Eth said there was an important message to take away from the case.

"Don't drink and drive. This is a 100 percent preventable incident," he said.

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