Mar 28, 2008
TIERRA AMARILLA — A Hernández man accused of running down a good Samaritan nearly a year ago was sentenced to life plus 12 1/2 years in prison after a jury convicted him Thursday of first-degree murder and other charges.
Christopher Branch, 24, showed no reaction as the jury foreman read the verdicts, though his mother and one of his young cousins, seated in the front row, began sobbing. Araceli Rutkowski, widow of 44-year-old Michael Rutkowski, also began crying and shaking after the verdict was read as she huddled with Rutkowski's mother, sister and another friend.
"We consider it a win," John Hollabaugh, Rutkowski's boss at a Los Alamos National Laboratory contractor and spokesman for the family, said afterward. "I think justice is served."
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