New trial set for El Paso woman convicted of intoxicated manslaughter

Desiree Skaf was convicted and sentenced in the crash that killed 25-year-old Janet Balderrama.

A woman convicted and sentenced for intoxicated manslaughter in a deadly crash in July 2013 is getting a new trial.

Desiree Skaf's new trial has been set for October after confusion arose over a plea agreement that was apparently made with prosecutors.

As previously reported, Skaf was charged with intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the Upper Valley crash that killed 25-year-old Janet Balderrama.

Skaf's attorney tells KFOX14 one aspect from the last trial got thrown out and that is how she is getting a second chance.

The victim's mother reached out to KFOX14 because she is confused and upset that the woman convicted of killing her daughter is now being tried again.

"Apart from not being able to heal from this, apart from what I have suffered, I feel bad. I'm not going to heal from this," Lourdes Balderrama said.

On June 11, 2013, Janet Balderrama was hit by Skaf on Doniphan Drive near Edgar Street.

"It's very hard to lose a child by someone who drank a lot," Balderrama said.

In a plea agreement proposed by the prosecution in March, Skaf pleaded guilty and was supposed to receive a seven-year prison sentence. But the defense made the agreement thinking Skaf would not have her right to an appeal taken away. The prosecution said that was not part of the deal.

Because of the confusion, 171st District Court Judge Bonnie Rangel ruled since there was a misunderstanding between both sides, legally no agreement had been reached.

One of Skaf's attorneys, Brent Mayr, told KFOX14 they filed for a new trial, and it was granted by Rangel.

"By granting the motion for new trial, they saved both the state and the defense a great deal of time and expense that would have been incurred by appealing this case," Mayr said. "Ms. Skaf is looking forward to her day in court."

As for the victim's family, Mayr said they're in the Skaf family's prayers.

"They have been in the thoughts and prayers of Ms. Skaf and her entire family," Mayr said. "This motion was, by no means, meant to discredit them or their loss but simply to insure that the outcome of this criminal case is one that is legally correct and just."

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