Latino Sentenced to Life in Prison for Habitual DWI Convictions

A man repeatedly convicted of driving while intoxicated has gotten some harsh punishment.

Cornelio Garcia-Mata has been sentenced to life in prison.

In twelve years, he's been arrested eight times.

Now jurors have decided he should serve the rest of his life behind bars.

That decision was criticized by legal experts who said the punishment was excessive.

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"Here's a guy who didn't seriously injure or kill anyone -- yet we're going to throw him in prison for the rest of his life," legal analyst Jonna Spilbor told Fox's Megyn Kelly. "You know who else is serving life in prison without possibility of parole? Charles Manson. I have a problem putting an alcoholic for life behind bars on these facts."

Others hailed the sentence.

"It's a good verdict for the community. That's somebody we won't have to worry about killing somebody," said chief felony prosecutor Sammy McCrary.

Garcia-Mata got his first DWI in 1990.

While on probation, he racked up his second.

Since he's a habitual offender he faced 25 years to life in prison for his latest offense.

"I applaud the court, the jury and most especially the community for making this happen," said Melissa Montgomery of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"The question is, do you have to wait until he actually has a body before you take him off the street permanently or do you take him off the street now and save somebody's life and the jury decided it was time for him to go," continued McCrary.

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