Carlos Montano found guilty of felony murder

Carlos Montano, center. (Photo: John Boal,

An immigrant from Bolivia was found guilty Monday in the murder of a Benedictine nun who was killed in a vehicle crash.

Prosecutors say Carlos Martinelly Montano was drunk and caused the fatal crash in Bristow that killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns. Prosecutor Paul Ebert points to Montano's blood alcohol after the crash, which was 0.2. Montano was driving on a suspended license and had two previous DUI convictions.

Defense Attorney Dimitri Willis says Carlos Martinelly Montano never intended to kill anyone the morning of August 1, 2010, that he was out running errands when his car hit one with three nuns.

Defense attorney Melissa Sanchez says Montano was awaiting deportation at the time of the crash. She claims he had a "legal work permit" at the time and was not in the country illegally.

The two surviving nuns took the stand during the trial. Charlotte Lange said she was driving up Bristow Road and thought the Subaru driving toward them was trying to pass. But the vehicle hit her car head on. She spent three months recovering from her injuries.

Sister Connie Ruth Lupton said she broke 14 bones, her thumb was severed and she suffered massive internal injuries. She remembers nothing of the crash or the following 10 weeks.

The nuns have recovered and in a statement speak of mercy.

Earlier in the trial, Montano accepted a plea deal for five of six charges, including involuntary manslaughter. That left him facing felony murder in trial today.

The defense rested its case without presenting any witnesses.

Mosier's death prompted a wave of debate about enforcement of immigration laws. Martinelly Montano had twice before been convicted of drunken driving but was released from custody while awaiting deportation proceedings.