TAMPA (FOX 13) - An international fugitive may catch a big break, even though he's now back in the U.S.
Defendant Christopher Ponce skipped bond and went on the run for three years, until Spanish police caught up to him. He's accused of driving drunk and the wrong way on Interstate 275, slamming into William Angel's car -- killing him and several injuring his two passengers.
Ponce was featured on the show ‘The Hunt’ with John Walsh and a tip led to his arrest. Months later, he was extradited back to United States. But now his attorney says a technicality in the extradition paperwork could cut Ponce's sentence by 10 years.
"Just because he's here doesn’t mean the whole extradition process is over,” offered attorney Anthony Rickman, who reviewed the case for FOX 13.
Rickman says it has to do with the added charges Ponce is now facing. Prosecutors added tampering with his ankle bracelet and failing to show up to court, but those charges were never included in the original paperwork to Spanish authorities, which is a problem.
"You can only be extradited on the charges that the extraditing country is aware of, " explained Rickman.
Therefore, Ponce’s attorney argues, prosecutors can't try him on those added charges. So instead of facing a maximum of 35 years in prison, it drops to 25.
But Rickman says prosecutors may fight it -- especially, he says, because the added charges are easy to prove.
"They have a slam dunk on the failure to appear and the tampering with evidence. We know he didn't appear in court and we know he cut off his monitor,” he continued. “I don't see the state rolling over and dismissing those two other charges."
Ponce's attorney, Rohom Khonsari, released a statement to FOX 13 saying, "we are continuing to work on the case and we are hopeful we can come to a resolution prior to trial."