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Billy Abraham sentenced

By: Melissa Gundersen

EL PASO, Texas -- Well-known El Paso businessman Billy Abraham is sentenced to spend six months behind bars and pay a $2,000 fine in connection with a deadly hit-and-run three years ago.

Abraham's family and attorneys were seen hugging and kissing in the courtroom Friday, showing signs of relief after the jury came back with a verdict. They found Abraham guilty of driving while intoxicated, a lesser charge than what could have been. Abraham was also charged with intoxicated manslaughter.

"There were two witnesses that saw everything and from what they saw this was an unavoidable accident," said defense attorney Dick DeGuerin.

DeGuerin said three years ago, Jay Grady darted out in the middle of Paisano Drive near El Paso Street, with a blood alcohol concentration of .23 percent. Many witnesses took the stand this week saying Grady may have been trying to commit suicide.

"That was just a matter of a split-second when this fellow either jumped or fell in front of Billy and Billy couldn't see him, didnt know that he had hit anybody," said DeGuerin.

Prosecuting attorney Denise Butterworth argued Abraham was also drunk, with a BAC of .20 percent. Friday morning she told the jury, "You will see for yourself in the field sobriety test that he has lost all those mental capabilities."

In the end, the jury decided Abraham's drunken driving didn't cause Grady's death.

"I don't think it should have been brought as an intoxication manslaughter and I believe that the jury agreed with us," said DeGuerin.

With a guilty DWI charge, Abraham will spend six months behind bars in the El Paso County Detention Facility and pay a $2,000 fine.

He'll be back in court Monday morning, where he'll be taken to jail. Defense attorneys do plan to appeal the sentencing.



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