A Los Angeles court has sentenced a 72-year-old woman to six years in state prison after she was convicted of running over and killing an MMA fighter’s 15-month-old toddler. According to KTLA News, the elderly woman identified as Donna Marie Higgins was convicted after she pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter.
According to reports, the incident that led to the eventual conviction of Higgins happened on September 3, 2016. On the day of the incident, an intoxicated Higgins struck the toddler who was being pushed around in his toddler by his teenage aunt. The duo was on a crosswalk when Higgins struck and ran over both of them. According to eyewitnesses, Higgins continued to drive away until she was stopped by an eyewitness. The victims were later identified to be relatives of MMA fighter Marcus Kowal. The name of the young victim was later revealed to be Liam Mikael Kowal who was declared brain dead a few hours after the incident. Before the toddler was taken off life support, his parents also donated his organs. His teenage aunt survived the accident with minor injuries and has now fully recovered.
In the court, Donna Marie Higgins pleaded guilty to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. She was also immediately sentenced under the terms of a negotiated plea deal, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office confirmed. At the time of the incident, she was driving with more than 0.8 percent or more blood alcohol content. Before the negotiated plea was made, she also faced additional charges for which she would have been sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison.
72-year-old woman gets 6 six years in prison for killing MMA fighter's son in Hawthorne crash https://t.co/n7AE92ntjn— Daily Breeze (@DailyBreezeNews) August 10, 2017
It was an emotional hearing at the courthouse on Thursday with the entire family of the deceased toddler present in the courtroom. Higgins maintained silence during the hearing and did not say anything apart from offering her plea. Following the sentencing, Marcus Kowal described the sentencing as being part of a very small battle in a much bigger fight.
“This is a very small battle in a much bigger fight to make sure Liam’s life wasn’t taken in vain.”
Months after their son’s death, the couple also created a foundation in his memory. Liam’s Life – as the foundation is called, aims to raise awareness about drunk driving. Less than a year after Liam’s death, Kowal’s wife only recently gave birth to the couple’s second son.
[Featured Image by Hawthorne Police Department]