I am going to try to remain civil. It’s not easy. Right is right and wrong is wrong, sometimes, it just come’s down to matters of fact. Michael Giacona had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when he got in to his van June 25 and collided with a black Mustang at an intersection in northwest Houston, killing 20-year-old Aaron Pennywell. It was the second time authorities had caught the 38-year old Cypress man driving drunk, but there was not enough evidence to charge him with anything more than a DWI. On Wednesday, Giacona said he would rather go back to jail than apologize to Pennywell’s parents for the wreck that killed their first child.
Michael Giacona is a punk. “For him to not write the letter tells me that he thinks he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Dennis Pennywell, the father of the victim. “I assume he thinks there’s nothing wrong with drinking and driving and running over somebody and killing them.” Giacona pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI in January and was sentenced to a year in jail. After serving 90 days, he was granted “shock probation,” which allows judges to release defendants who have been “scared straight.”
There is so much wrong with this, I hardly know where to begin and honestly, even as I write this, I can feel my blood pressure up. How a two-time DWI’er gets shock probation is beyond me not to mention a DWI crash where he killed someone. As part of his probation, Court-at-Law Judge Michael Fieldsimposed several conditions including wearing a giant sign that reads, “I killed Aaron Coy Pennywellwhile driving drunk,” during four consecutive Saturdays.
Fields also mandated the apology letter, which Giacona refused to write in a way that satisfied the judge, so Fields sent him back in the Harris County Jail to finish out his sentence. “He had fears that he might be admitting to something that could be used in a felony prosecution,” Giacona’s lawyer, Humberto Trejosaid. Trejo estimated that Giacona would spend about 50 more days behind bars. Pennywell said prosecutors did not pursue felony charges against Giacona for the death because they did not believe there was enough evidence for the charge.
Assistant Harris County District Attorney Catherine Evans, chief of the vehicular crimes section, went to the scene of the 2 a.m. crash at Huffmeister and Spring Cypress to help gather evidence. She said there was no way to prove which driver was at fault in the crash, so prosecutors could not file more serious charges, like intoxication manslaughter. “It is not the outcome that I wanted,” Evans said. “I’m never happy when we don’t have the answers to what happened.” I’m not happy with this outcome either which might be the understatement of the decade. I am seething that this punk…and that is exactly what he is…will not man up, show some humanity and compassion towards the parents whose child he killed.