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Wilfredo Pujols Sentenced For Hit-And-Run

Wilfredo Pujols Sentenced For Hit-And-Run
Chris Cooper Killed When Police Chase Ends In Crash
UPDATED 9:20 AM CDT Apr 23, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —The man who killed a teenager in a hit-and-run collision was sentenced on Thursday to 15 years in prison.

Wilfredo J. Pujols pleaded guilty in December 2008 to second-degree murder in the death of a bicyclist in Independence.

Wilfredo Pujols, who is the cousin of St. Louis baseball star Albert Pujols, was involved in a police chase in November 2007 when he struck Chris Cooper, a 17-year-old junior at Truman High School. Cooper was crossing the street at Noland Road and Osage Street when he was hit.

Wilfredo Pujols did not stop after hitting Cooper, police said.

Wilfredo Pujols also pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. He received the sentence of 15 years for the second-degree murder. The other counts carry sentences of four years, but they will run concurrently with the murder sentence.

During Thursday’s sentencing, Wilfredo Pujols apologized and took responsibility for killing Cooper, KMBC’s Peggy Breit reported. He was in tears, saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I can’t say anything else.”

“I watched it — it seemed sincere to me,” said Sean Pickett, attorney for Cooper’s family.

Cheryl Cooper, Chris’ mother, told the judge what a loss it has been.

“I tried the best I could to convey how I feel, but I truly don’t believe there are words to convey what has happened to me and my family,” said Cheryl Cooper, Chris’ mother.

The Cooper family said police are also to blame for chasing Pujols that night. They have filed a civil lawsuit to try to get the Independence policy chase policies changed.

The Coopers asked the judge to give Pujols the maximum under his plea agreement, which was 20 years.

Pujols’ family had hoped for less time, because he is the father of two young children. However, 15 years is better than 20, they said.

“The family is somewhat satisfied with that, and obviously, the finality of it all. They’re glad to have it over with,” attorney John Picerno said.

The Coopers said they accept the judge’s decision.

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