Tyrone Williams: Immigrant-Smuggling Deaths Bring 34 Years Instead of Life Without Parole

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Tyrone Williams, the driver whose cramped, overheated semi caused the deaths of 19 illegal aliens he was smuggling, has received a new sentence of almost 34 years in prison.

His previous sentence of life without parole was thrown out when a federal appellate court ruled the judge and not the jury should have set the punishment.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal handed down the sentence today in the 2003 deaths, the U.S. Attorney's office reports.

Williams, 40, will receive 405 months for the deaths, which constituted the biggest such incident in the southern district of Texas.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Williams cried before the sentence was handed down.

"If I had known those people were in trouble like that, I would have opened those doors," Williams said. "I don't kill people, your honor."

"The sentences on all counts of conviction are to be served concurrently," The U.S. Attorney's office said. "Williams has been in federal custody since his May 2003 arrest. Williams will remain in custody to serve out his sentences. There is no parole in the federal system."

Civil suits have been filed on behalf of those who died and some of the 100 who suffered in the incident.

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