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Admitted drunk driver in fatal Amsterdam crash sentenced; Newspaper carrier killed

Admitted drunk driver in fatal Amsterdam crash sentenced; Newspaper carrier killed

He received 2 to 6 years in state prison
Admitted drunk driver in fatal Amsterdam crash sentenced; Newspaper carrier killed
Ronald E. Carpenter is led into court in October; Inset: Christina Rossi
Photographer: marc schultz/gazette photographer; Inset: Provided

FONDA -- A man who admitted in court that he drove drunk when he struck and killed newspaper carrier Christina Rossi in October was sentenced Friday to 2 to 6 years in state prison, court officials said.

Christina Rossi's widower Gene Rossi has also offered his forgiveness, he said this week.

Ronald E. Carpenter, 42, of Amsterdam, appeared in Montgomery County Court Friday and was formally sentenced. 

The sentencing came after he pleaded guilty in November to one count of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, a felony, and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

Gene Rossi, Christina Rossi's husband, did not attend the sentencing proceedings, he said Tuesday. He didn't think it would be in his best interests to attend or give a statement in court.

But, Rossi said, he did offer words to the prosecutor that could be relayed to the court.

"I told The DA that you can convey to Mr. Carpenter that he has my forgiveness," Rossi said, "and I pray that he finds peace with the lord while he's in jail."

Christina Rossi, 64, of Amsterdam, was struck and killed early Oct. 19 as she delivered newspapers on Brookside Avenue in Amsterdam.  Carpenter was returning home when he hit her.

Carpenter's blood alcohol content tested at 0.17, more than twice the legal limit to drive of 0.08, police said.

Carpenter was charged and he pleaded guilty within weeks. The agreed upon sentence that he received is just below the maximum for the crime, 2 1/3 to 7 years.

Christina Rossi delivered newspapers for both the Amsterdam Recorder and The Daily Gazette. She did so with her husband, and they often split more than 700 deliveries. He was on another street when the crash happened.

Gene Rossi has remembered his wife as a loving mother of her two adult sons and a loving wife. She was a born again Christian and was active in their church, the Calvary Assembly of God on Main Street in Amsterdam. She was also a two-time cancer survivor.

She and her husband had been married for more than 19 years. 

Of Carpenter, Gene Rossi said forgiveness was the only way.

"He didn't deliberately do this," Gene Rossi said. "He made a very bad decision."

"I can't go on being angry," Rossi said. "I can forgive, but his soul is in God's hands now."

Carpenter was represented in the case by attorney Theodore Hartman. Hartman commented on the case Tuesday.

"It was a tragedy, but this resolution enables Mr. Carpenter to potentially leave jail within the next two years," Hartman said. "He's a good man who made a tragic mistake."

Montgomery County District Attorney Kelli McCoski noted the resolution was reached in consultation with Christina Rossi's family. 

"The victim's husband is a very religious man, a forgiving man and he was content with that offer," McCoski said. "It doesn't bring back his wife. It doesn't make it right, but it's one year off the maximum.

"It's a very, very sad case that should never have happened," McCoski said.

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