Sentencing appeal rejected for man convicted in death of Tampa teen

- David Martinez was 14 when he died in a car crash. The man convicted of being high on bath salts when he slammed into the Martinez family's minivan, killing David, has been serving a life sentence. 

On Friday, D'Angelo Howard, a four-time convicted felon, was granted a sentencing appeal and got to tell a judge why he should have a lighter sentence.

As is common in sentencing hearings, David's family was also granted time to speak on behalf of the young man who can never speak for himself again.

The crash that killed David happened in January 2015. The Martinez family was on a busy Tampa roadway when Howard slammed into their van. 

David was thrown from the car and died instantly. Five of his family members suffered serious injuries.

His family said David was growing into manhood, devoting his time to his family and his faith.

Now, as Howard asks for a lighter sentence, David's mother, Yolanda Martinez is once again speaking out on behalf of her boy, who will never be able to defend himself again.

"It's not easy for us. We also have a life sentence of pain every day. Every minute we have to live with an unbearable pain by somebody who didn't care about life, didn't care about himself," said Yolanda said.

She told the judge, every day without her son is a struggle and the only thing keeping her strong is her faith.

"That's whats helped me go on in this life, otherwise I would not want to live without my son. I don't want to live without my son ever," Yoland said through sobs.

David's father, Albert Martinez didn't hold back either.

"I don't think society would be a better place right now with Mr. Howard out there," he said. 

Howard told the family he was sorry but did not seem to take full responsibility.

"I know I did wrong. I knew I was in a bad situation at the time. Somebody gave me bath salts. That's something I would never do," explained Howard. 

His explanation did not seem to sway the judge. Howard's life sentence would remain.

Yolanda Martinez wiped away tears of relief after the judge's ruling.

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