A man who was in this country illegally was sentenced to life in prison today for a violent carjacking last year in College Park, Md. News4's Chris Gordon talked to the victim about the ordeal.
Carjacking victim Kelynger Rocha said her life is filled with fear. Every time she closes her eyes, she sees her carjacker.
While stopping for gas the night of Feb. 13, 2011, 33-year-old Miguel Morales-Iraheta slipped into the back seat. Rocha, 23, drove home not knowing the intruder was behind her until he grabbed her by the throat.
“I offered him more than $100-$200 I had in cash,” Rocha said. “He didn't want that. He told me to keep driving. For fear of my life I did what he asked.”
She drove along Route 1 in College Park, Md. At the intersection in front of the fraternity quad, she made a quick decision, jumped out of the car, ran and called 911.
Morales-Iraheta drove away, but a University of Maryland police officer saw the car run a red light and pursued for about 2 miles into a residential neighborhood where the car hit a curb, flipped and crashed, trapping the suspect inside.
A jury found Morales-Iraheta guilty.
"This court believes the defendant represents a very serious threat to the safety of our community,” the judge said at sentencing.
With that she sentenced him to life on the charge of false imprisonment plus 30 years for the carjacking.
“Mr. Iraheta will no longer be on the streets of Prince George's County,” Deputy State’s Attorney Tara Harrison said. “We agree with the judge he is a danger to our community.”
“I'm just happy that he's no longer near me, no longer near anybody to do this ever again,” Rocha said.