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Family Protests Plea Deal In Manslaughter Case

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A local family says a drunken driver is getting off easy thanks to a plea deal after he allegedly killed their father.

After accepting a plea deal, a judge sentenced Mark Skillingberg, 32, Friday morning to one year in jail, five years probation and restitution payments for the death of Gebregziabher Gabremadhin. The 72-year-old father and grandfather was killed by Skillingberg on Oct. 27, 2009 in a drunken driving accident.

Court records say Gabremadhin was making an illegal U-turn when his car was T-boned by Skillingberg. His blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.

Skillingberg was originally charged with Felony Vehicular Manslaughter with gross negligence. However, a plea deal dropped the enhanced charge of gross negligence, eliminating the possibility of prison time for Skillingberg. The plea deal also allows for the charge to be dropped to a misdemeanor after probation and jail time are completed.

Gabremadhin family members protested the plea deal outside of the LAX courthouse Friday morning. They say Skillinberg should have to serve prison –not jail- time.

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