Woman Convicted Of Causing Daughter's Death Weeps At Sentencing

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - Tears overwhelmed Sonja Milini, preventing her from speaking to a judge at her sentencing for causing the death of her 8-year-old daughter.

When Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles Brown on Monday asked Milini if she was all right, she managed to say in a tiny, wavering voice, that she could be better. Milini unfolded a small piece of note paper, but broke into tears before she could read it.

Milini's lawyer, Steven LoDico, asked Brown to read the note. He did so silently, while Milini cried softly.

The note, which Milini gave to a reporter for The Repository, contained Milini's remorse: "I can only do right by letting people know what could happen (to) them If they drink and drive. I'm so sorry ..."

On Oct. 26, Milini drove off the side of a road with both of her daughters in the car. Ronnie Milini died. Ronnie's 5-year-old sister survived.

Investigators said Sonja Milini, 28, had a blood-alcohol level more than 2½ times the legal limit establishing drunken driving.

Brown sentenced her to five years in prison for aggravated vehicular homicide.

She was sentenced to 12 months apiece for two felony counts of endangering children. Those two sentences will run concurrently with each other and with the five-year sentence.

Brown imposed no fine, but Milini will lose all driving privileges permanently.

Brown delayed the beginning of her sentence until after Milini has received a scheduled operation and has recuperated. LoDico said that she should report to start her term in about six weeks.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)