MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee woman will spend 16 years in prison for using her car to hit and drag a woman to death. The prosecutor described the crime as being so horrific it will give the families involved nightmares.
In a quiet courtroom on Friday, Sept. 20, the daughter of Carla Gould told the judge her mother moved to Milwaukee to avoid violence -- only to become a victim a few blocks from her own home.
"She's seen a lot in her life. But she didn't see this coming," Gould said.
Prosecutors say Sandra Rybka was behind the wheel of her vehicle when she got into a fight with Gould at an intersection near the Mitchell Park Domes. When Gould tried to walk away, police say Rybka hit Gould with her car. She dragged Gould across Layton Boulevard, ran her over and then drove away.
"It is horrific. It is non-sensical. It is violent and something that will cause victim's families as well as the defendant's nightmares on the sheer brutality over the way the victim died," said Ian Huebner, prosecutor.
Investigators say Rybka was driving on a suspended license. She admitted to drinking and smoking crack earlier that day.
"Her blood-alcohol level was .184," Huebner said.
Rybka's attorney told the court his client started abusing alcohol after her son's death -- and that she is sorry for causing so much pain.
"I'm very sorry," Rybka said.
Speaking through an interpreter, Rybka asked the court to believe she can change.
"I'm asking the judge to have mercy on me and to give me a second chance," Rybka said.
The judge called Rybka's crime malicious -- one that warrants time behind bars.
"I understand that you are sorry now," said Judge Jeffrey Wagner. "You used that motor vehicle as a weapon of death."
The judge sentenced Rybka to 16 years behind bars followed by another seven years of extended supervision. She pleaded guilty in August to second-degree reckless homicide and hit-and-run resulting in death. A “use of a dangerous weapon” penalty enhancer on the homicide charge was dismissed. A third charge of knowingly operate a motor vehicle while suspended, cause death was also dismissed and read into the court record for the purpose of sentencing.
The Gould family is also asking the court to order Rybka to pay funeral expenses.