Hunter Sivigliano's speeding while legally drunk in a compact car cost the lives of his two best friends. The recent University of Oklahoma graduate and aspiring lawyer was given a chance Thursday to not let the accident destroy a third life — his.
Oklahoma County District Judge Jerry Bass issued a 10-year deferred sentence to Sivigliano, who faced a prison term of four years to life on each first-degree manslaughter charge filed against him after the June 18, 2011, one-car accident.
“I think I can trust you,” Bass told Sivigliano as members of his family and friends hugged and the father of one of the victims ran out of the courtroom in disgust.
Bass warned Sivigliano, 24, that if he abused that trust during the next 10 years, his deferred sentence would be revoked and he would be sent to prison, most likely for life.
“Make sure that you don't violate my trust,” the judge said. “Make sure you remember your friends so that a third life is not lost.”
After the hearing, Sivigliano, of Oklahoma City, said he is up to the task.
“I'm going to be a positive influence in life, no matter what,” he said. “I will become something special and successful. It's been told to me by the man upstairs.”
Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Gary Ackley recommended a prison sentence of 20 years — 10 years for each life — and five years of probation after that. He told Bass that a prison sentence would send a clear message to young adults to not drink and drive.
“Good young men like the defendant continue to do foolish things like this,” he said.
One of Sivigliano's attorneys, Stephen Jones of Enid, told the judge that prison sentences don't deter crimes.
“Mercy is a greater virtue than justice,” he said.
Bass also ordered Sivigliano to do 400 hours of community service in the next three years, consisting mostly of talking to high school students about the dangers of driving while drunk or after drinking alcohol.
Bass deliberated for nearly an hour after Sivigliano pleaded guilty to the two felony counts and 10 people, including the mother and brother of one of the victims, asked the judge to consider punishment other than prison.