Aaron Daugherty, 25, received the maximum sentence of 30 years for two counts of first-degree murder to run consecutively. Daugherty was convicted of the June 13, 2009, shooting deaths of Valerie A. York, 25, and Mark A. Koenig, 23.
Fifth District Court Judge Ralph D. Shamas said, â€œI have dedicated the whole of my adult life to the defense of the law and the justice system. … The jury have found him guilty on two counts of firstdegree, willful and deliberate homicide, two counts for two lives.
For the murder of Valerie York, 30 years to life, for the murder of Mark Koenig, 30 years to life, to be served consecutively. I act not from anger, but from a sense of justice.â€ Prior to the ruling, family members were given a chance to speak.
Jeff Koenig, Mark Koenigâ€™s father, urged two consecutive sentences. â€œThis manâ€™s actions have taken more than you can believe. Mark was the kind of man who would give you the shirt off his back. Not only that, he did. Iâ€™ve not only lost a son; Iâ€™ve lost my best friend.
I cannot conceive his (Daugherty) getting concurrent sentences.â€ Carolyn Koenig, Mark Koenigâ€™s mother, said, â€œI had only one son, even though he was not perfect. … the only way the sentences can run concurrently means that one of those lives meant nothing.â€ Sandra James described the gap that will be left in the familiesâ€™ lives in the upcoming holiday season.
â€œI am left with an empty place in my heart, an empty place at the table, an empty plate at the dinner.â€ Assistant District Attorney Deborah Hutchins pointed out that â€œAaron Daugherty robbed his own child of a family.â€
Family members of both victims and the defendant spoke of the loss to Yorkâ€™s children and to Daughertyâ€™s and Yorkâ€™s son, Caiden. Daughertyâ€™s family asked the judge for clemency. His uncle, Larry Atkins, offered his condolences to the victimsâ€™ families.
â€œNo one can live without hope. If you can find forgiveness, then Aaronâ€™s mother can go to her grave with hope,â€ said James Atkins, another of Daughertyâ€™s uncles. Hope that would be denied if Daugherty were to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Atkins did not condone his nephewâ€™s actions. â€œYou (Daugherty) have done everyone here an injustice.
You have been unfair to the families of Valerie York and Mark Koenig, unfair to Dominic (Yorkâ€™s son) and Caiden, unfair to your mother, unfair to the citizens of Roswell, to the District Court and the court system of New Mexico.â€ Defense attorney Harry Wilcox pleaded passionately for his client.
â€œWhat I have to say will never lessen anything that the families feel about their loved ones. Thereâ€™s nothing anyone can do to rewind the clock.â€
He reminded the court that with consecutive sentences Daugherty must serve 30 years on each count. â€œThat means 60 years. He would be 85- years-old before he would be eligible for parole.â€
Outside the court room, Carolyn Koenig summed up her feelings. â€œThis is the hollowest victory you could ever get.â€ Jeff Koenig agreed.
â€œAll three families lost.â€ Carla Atkins, Daughertyâ€™s mother, said, â€œI knew that this could happen before I came up here. And I have my grandson, Caiden, who brings me joy.â€