A driver who was videotaped fatally punching a 70-year-old San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy after a New Year's Eve traffic accident was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Alonzo Leron Smith, 31, pleaded no contest in December to voluntary manslaughter and other felonies in the off-duty death of Lawrence Falce.
At the sentencing last week, Falce's family asked that Smith be housed in a facility closer to his family so his children can visit him, the San Bernardino Sun reported.
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"I may never know why Alonzo did what he did or what set him off, but he has a chance to make better choices going forward," said Falce's sister, Marjorie Falce-Jorgensen. "My hope for Alonzo is that he will learn to appreciate life and those he has in it."
Surveillance video from a nearby store captured the encounter, which lasted about a minute on Dec. 31, 2017.
After a fender-bender, Falce and Smith got out of their cars, exchanged words and motioned at each other.
Smith then delivered a single punch Falce's face and he fell backward, his head hitting the pavement. Falce never regained consciousness and died two days later at a hospital.
Smith got back in his Ford Explorer and the video showed a truck ramming it to try to keep him from driving off. Smith managed to drive away but was arrested hours later, police said.
Falce worked 36 years as a deputy sheriff. He also coordinated search-and-rescue volunteers.
Falce was the oldest member of the 3,700-member department, which does not have a mandatory retirement age but requires deputies to pass training exercises several times a year to ensure they still can do the job, sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said at the time.