NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (AP) - A 45-year-old Texas Hill Country man convicted an eighth time for drunken driving must serve at least 30 years in prison.
A jury in New Braunfels sentenced Cornelio Garcia-Mata of New Braunfels to life in prison, of which he must serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole, Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp said Monday.
The jury delivered the sentence Nov. 16 at the request of prosecutors, she said.
Garcia was arrested Feb. 26 after driving erratically on Interstate 35. Civilians helped officers stop Garcia, and tests revealed a 0.446 percent blood-alcohol level. That's 5 1/2 times the legal threshold for drunken driving in Texas, Tharp said. He was still on parole from a six-year prison sentence from a 2008 conviction.
The eight convictions came throughout a 22-year period.
"He was given every type of treatment Texas has to offer, including the most intensive form of (inpatient) treatment involving lockdown," Tharp said.
The prosecutor said this was the first drunken driving case in Comal County to bring a life sentence since she joined the office staff in 2004.
However, she estimated that about 30 Texans have drawn a life sentence for multiple repeat drunken-driving convictions.
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