Crash victim's husband makes rare courtroom plea for justice

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EVERETT, Wash. - The husband of a Granite Falls teacher who was killed in a collision urged a judge on Monday to jail the driver accused of causing her death.

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Deborah Horne said the man's plea was unusual because normally, only lawyers and the defendant speak to a judge at an arraignment.

 

Gene Armstrong had a picture of his wife in his hands he walked to the front of the Snohomish County courtroom.

 

He began by showing Judge Ellen Fair the photograph of Suzy Armstrong, a Granite Falls special education teacher. She was driving around a curve in September, 2011, when a car crossed the road and hit her.  She died three days later. 

 

Prosecutors said the man behind the wheel was Matthew Boitano, whom they charged with vehicular homicide.

 

"I disagree what he's being charged with," Gene Armstrong said. "This wasn't an accident. If this was an accident, things would be a great deal different. It wasn't an accident. What he did was deliberate."

 

Boitano wept as Armstrong urged the judge to send him to jail to await trial behind bars.

 

"This is not right that this person can turn around and leave this building," said Armstrong. "This woman was very, very special."

 

"While I say I certainly understand your pain, under the court rules, I believe it is appropriate that Dr. Boitano is released on his personal recognizance at this time," Judge Fair said.

 

Boitano pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide.

 

He never spoke to Gene Armstrong.