Valerie Guzman sentenced to 11 years in prison

Posted at: 04/17/2013 6:50 PM
Updated at: 04/17/2013 6:52 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Valerie Guzman
Photo: Valerie Guzman

A jail inmate managed to escape from UNM Hospital in February.

But Valerie Guzman had nowhere to run on Wednesday.

A judge sentenced her for stealing a car.

Initially Valerie Guzman was looking at four years in prison, but because she escaped from UNMH and racked up other charges the judge doubled her sentence.

Donning a red jumpsuit for high risk inmate, Guzman awaited her fate in District Court.

The state asked for the max, 22 years in prison, for charges related to auto theft.

We first reported about Guzman in February when she escaped custody at the hospital.

She claims the MDC guard who was supposed to be watching her made it easy for her to make her move by falling asleep on the job.

Although the escape is not part of the sentencing Wednesday, the prosecution fought to show KOB-TV’s exclusive story and Judge Benjamin Chavez allowed it.

"I think it was important for him to see that she called in and I felt it was rather flippant," said prosecutor Vincenet Martinez.

Judge Chavez sentenced Guzman to 11 years in prison and had this to say to Guzman:

"It is clear to this court that Ms. Guzman you have hit rock bottom, that it's time to build yourself up.  But you're going to have to do it from prison," he said.

Defense attorney, Michael Rosenfield, said the judgment is fair and he doesn’t think KOB’s story impacted the sentence.

"I don't think it showed her as being arrogant. I think it showed her being somebody who said she slipped through the cracks," said Rosenfield.

MDC’s investigation did not find the guard watching Guzman fell asleep.

But documents KOB has obtained show he had no idea she’d snuck out until a nurse told him.

The guard was suspended for five days for not paying attention on the job.

Guzman still faces charges related to that escape and an additional charge for auto burglary.