Maestas Receives Maximum Prison Sentence

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A Green River man received the maximum prison sentence today for killing two people and injuring another when a vehicle he was operating drove into a home in March.

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George Eluid Maestas, 68, was sentenced to serve 45 to 50 years imprisonment by 3rd Judicial District Judge Nena James.

Maestas pleaded no contest last week for the deaths of one-year-old Stella Doak and her great-grandmother, 62-year-old Debra DeVries, and for seriously injuring Frank Johnson. Maestas was charged with  two counts of Aggravated Homicide by Vehicle and one count of Driving While Under a Controlled Substance Causing Serious Bodily Injury.

Judge James sentenced Maestas to serve 18 to 20 years imprisonment for each Aggravated Vehicular Homicide Charge and nine to 10 years for the Driving Under The Influence Charge. Judge James ordered the sentences to be served consecutively to “recognize and honor the victims.”

The sentencing hearing lasted all day Thursday and through the morning Friday and included emotional testimony from victims, family members, first responders, investigators, and a friend of Maestas’. The hearing also including numerous videos documenting the investigation and interviews along with body camera footage from a Sheriff’s Deputy who helped to extricate the baby from underneath the vehicle before rushing her to the arms of ambulance personnel.

Ann Mandros, a friend of Maestas’, testified that she had used methamphetamine and marijuana with Maestas for at least two days before the incident, including the night before the fatal crash.

John Bunning

Mandros said she lied in her initial statement to police, but that she decided to tell the truth because, “It’s the right thing to do.”

Mandros said she believes Maestas is a good person and she felt guilt for testifying against a friend.

“I don’t want to be up here telling you what we did,” said Mandros. “I believe he should be up here and take accountability for what he did.”

Blood tests conducted on Maestas’ blood which was taken the day of the crash showed methamphetamine, opioids, and THC in his system. A urine analysis tested positive for methamphetamine, oxycodone, and THC. The methamphetamine was still active in Maestas’ system at the time of the blood draw.

Maestas testified in his own defense during the hearing.

He said he chose to change his plea to no contest because he did not want to put the victims’ family through trial. He said while the situations were not the same, he could empathize with the family because he had to sit through a trial when his brother was shot and killed in the 1980’s.

Maestas said he did not remember the crash. He said he remembered driving and then lost consciousness before waking after crashing into the home.

When questioned about recent drug use, he admitted to smoking methamphetamine the Wednesday before the crash. He denied using methamphetamine the day before and the morning of the incident.

“I wasn’t under the influence of marijuana, or methamphetamine, or anything else,” Maestas told County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Erramouspe.

Maestas said he believed the blood test accurately showed that methamphetamine was still in his system, however he did not know that prior to the crash.

Defense Attorney Stan Cannon said he believes much of the videos shown of Maestas following the crash were not reliable because it was impossible to know how much of the confusion and disorientation was due to the crash and what was due to meth use.

He said this was a case of a defendant who was in the late phase of meth use, which can result in extreme fatigue. Cannon said Maestas got behind the wheel believing he was able to drive.

Cannon asked Judge James for a sentence that would allow Maestas the opportunity to get out on parole.

“George does not want to die in prison,” said Cannon.

Erramouspe asked Judge James for the maximum prison sentence. He cited an extensive criminal history dating to 1967.

Erramouspe described Maestas as a “wrecking ball on the road” and noted that he passed two schools before crashing into the Green River home.

“In my opinion, the maximum penalty is grossly minimal compared to what it should be,” Erramouspe told Judge James.

During his statement to the court, Maestas said he was sorry for what he did and felt bad for what happened. He said he believes Erramouspe was making him out to be something that he is not.

“I’m so sorry, but what I’ve been hearing from the prosecution is he’s making me out to be some kind of monster, and I’m not,” said Maestas.

He said that he hopes the family of the victims will be able to forgive him in the future.

Judge James described Maestas as a “dangerous man” with an extensive criminal history. She said she was in a position to make sure that he never hurt anyone ever again.

“He has a very sad life of poor choices culminating in this,” said Judge James prior to sentencing.