- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Prince George’s County woman who killed two men while driving drunk last year was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

Jenny Mate, 32, was sentenced in county Circuit Court after pleading guilty in May to two counts of vehicular manslaughter — stemming from the February 2010 deaths of Roy “Alex” Lacayo and Justo Rosario Jr.Mate struck and killed the men as they exchanged information on the road’s shoulder after a minor accident.

According to prosecutors, Mate had a history of alcohol problems and was driving with a suspended license and two previous drunken-driving convictions at the time of the crash. Police said she dragged Rosario more than 100 feet before stopping. They also said Mate refused a Breathalyzer test at the scene but four hours later registered a 0.15 blood-alcohol content  nearly double the legal limit.

“With the time that she has to think about it, I hope that she does turn her life around,” said Christie Lacayo, widow to Lacayo, who had five children. “It’s hard trying to make it, but I have to be strong for them.”


Mate was sentenced after more than two hours of testimony from her friends and family and those of the victims. Mate’s family members and attorney painted her as a kind person and devoted single mother  she has a 5-year-old son and another baby due in September — who has been victimized by alcoholism brought on by physical and sexual abuse as a child.

Prosecutors argued that Mate had been given myriad chances to turn around her life after numerous arrests and convictions on charges including grand larceny in 1998, driving while intoxicated in 2000 and driving under the influence in 2008.

“You’ve had warning after warning after warning,” said Judge Cathy H. Serrette. “You’ve had repeated wake-up calls as an adult but you’ve continued to drive after drinking alcohol.”

Mate, wearing an orange jumpsuit, spoke briefly at her sentencing. Reading from a prepared statement she apologized to the victims’ families and expressed her desire to overcome her grief and addiction.

Lacayo and Rosario, were 34 and 30 respectively at the time of their deaths.

The victims’ family members said they were sympathetic toward Mate’s family having to see her go to prison but they would never be able to see their loved ones again.

“I wanted to tell my brother I loved him for the last time, and she took that away from me,” said Maria Rosario, the victim’s 15-year-old sister. “I haven’t gone to the cemetery because I don’t want to believe my brother is gone.”