Hit and run victim's family speaks out on possible plea deal

Hit and run victim's family speaks out on possible plea deal

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Veronica Plascenia Veronica Plascenia
James Bellinger James Bellinger
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PHOENIX -

A memorial still stands two months after Army veteran Veronica Plascenia was killed in a hit and run crash.  The 37-year-old was riding her scooter on 19th Avenue near Northern when police say James Bellinger ran over her.

"He never stopped, he never braked, he hit her..the front of her scooter and when he did, it threw her up in the air -- she crashed into the windshield," said Lynn Salas, the victim's girlfriend.

Bellinger continued to run.  Police tracked him down after getting tips from witnesses.  He now faces a manslaughter charge and leaving the scene of a hit and run.  He could get up to 21 years in prison.

"He treated her less than human by just leaving.  He never stopped to even see if she needed assistance at least call 9-1-1, so it's very hard," said Salas.

Salas says prosecutors want to offer Bellinger a plea deal of 10 years in prison and 7 years probation -- something she's not too happy about.

"I'm hoping for justice.  I'm for at least 17 years.  I know we won't get the 21, but I'm hoping for at least 17," said Salas.

On Sunday, Veronica's friends and family will hold a march near the spot where she was killed.  Bellinger has a hearing on Monday.

The County Attorney's office says no formal offer has been presented to him yet, but they say they always consult with family members before offering a plea.

Prosecutors say typically the recommended sentence for the charges Bellinger is facing is 10 years.  They tell us the family wants a sentence that's reserved for defendants with aggravating factors and right now, Bellinger does not qualify.

Follow this story: Female motorcyclist critically injured in hit-and-run

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