• December 27, 2014

Drunk driver gets 20 years for 2010 death

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Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 12:15 am

BELTON — A jury sentenced a former Killeen resident to the maximum penalty, 20 years in prison, for killing a motorcyclist while driving drunk in Killeen nearly three years ago.

Eugene Wolfenberger, 50, of Harleton, also was fined $10,000 after being convicted of intoxicated manslaughter Thursday. Wolfenberger killed 47-year-old William Allen Reed when his sedan collided with Reed’s motorcycle on Aug. 11, 2010.

Wolfenberger will be eligible for parole in about nine years.

Friday’s sentencing trial included emotional testimony from Reed’s widow, Rosa Reed. In asking how she dealt with the loss of her husband of 15 years, Reed fought through tears and she paraphrased a quote from Mark Twain.

“The mind is dumb,” she said. “It knows there’s a vast loss, but it takes the mind and the memory months and years to understand how vast the loss is.”

Reed said the loss affects her daily. She cannot sleep in her own bed, preferring a couch and the white noise of a television to the quiet solitude of a bedroom she once shared with her husband.

“I miss him so much,” she said.

Wolfenberger also took the stand Friday, telling the jury he needed help for alcoholism and anger management that resulted from post-traumatic stress disorder. A former Army sergeant, Wolfenberger served multiple tours in Iraq and was a contracted Apache helicopter mechanic in Afghanistan.

His defense lawyers pushed for probation with strict terms for required treatment for alcoholism and therapy, pointing toward Wolfenberger’s good record while enlisted.

Run-ins with law

But during Friday’s hearing, the jury heard of Wolfenberger’s multiple run-ins with the law following being charged in Reed’s death.

Authorities in Harleton were called to his home twice in 2012 in connection with family violence assaults. The first arrest resulted in a felony charge when Wolfenberger punched a deputy while in custody, testimony showed.

That charge was later dropped. However, the district attorney’s office decided to revoke Wolfenberger’s bond after an incident in September when he fired a sniper rifle while fighting with his wife. She sustained an injury to the head when Wolfenberger allegedly hit her with the butt of the rifle.

Observers speculated testimony Wolfenberger gave on Thursday may have hurt his case more than it helped. Exchanges with lead prosecutor Mike Waldman were often tinged with anger.

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