KINGMAN - Many involved in the local legal system will tell you that impairment-involved traffic fatalities are some of the most heart wrenching cases addressed at the Mohave County courthouse.

A sobbing teenage defendant and a court room drenched in the tears of members of two grieving families proved the point on Thursday, Oct. 4.

The families of the victim and the defendant sat on opposite sides of the court room for the sentencing hearing of Billy Nunno, 18, Lake Havasu City. Nunno was 17 in July, 2017 when he drove drunk and his vehicle slammed another on Highway 95, fatally injuring Russ Genovese, 45, Fontana, California.

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart," Nunno offered to the Genovese family, while telling Judge Billy Sipe he is committed to becoming a productive citizen after his prison hitch. “I swear with every fiber in my body that you will not see me again."

Members of his family told Judge Sipe that Nunno is a good person who made a bad choice. His father said Nunno is overwhelmed with remorse and is also a victim of the tragedy.

Parents and siblings of the deceased articulated their grief and said Genovese is sorely missed.

“This family is never going to be right again," said Richard Genovese, Russ' father. “On a day to day basis, we're just a mess."

Richard Genovese said he offers prayer for Nunno, even though his family thought the plea too lenient.

Judge Sipe agreed that the plea was light but he agreed to its sentencing limitations saying it is clear that both families want to gain some closure and move on. Sipe expressed his contempt for drinking and driving and said Genovese's death is more of a homicide than it was an accident.

Sipe ordered a five year prison sentence, the maximum punishment possible under terms of the plea agreement convicting Nunno of manslaughter.

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