Rebecca Maez gets ten-year sentence for death of cannabis advocate Jenny Kush
Rebecca Maez was sentenced on Friday to ten years in prison for the death of cannabis advocate Jenny Kush. Maez, 28, was drunk and driving the wrong way in an HOV lane on I-25 last September when she collided head-on with a car being driven by Kush's boyfriend, Jeremy DePinto, who was injured in the crash. Kush, his passenger, was killed.
Melanie Asmar Rebecca Maez in the hallway before the hearing. There were several people in the hallway waiting to serve her papers related to civil lawsuits.
Maez pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and assault last month. At an emotional sentencing hearing on Friday, she pleaded for forgiveness as Kush's loved ones told the judge about the amazing mother, daughter and friend that they lost.
"She was the sweetest, most generous, most selfless, most sincere person I ever met," said her friend Paul Garrett. At the end of his statement, a tearful Garrett told the judge, "Please don't let Jenny's death mean nothing to you. It means everything to us."
As William Breathes reported in his cover story, "The life and tragic death of cannabis advocate Jenny Kush," Jennifer Monson -- better known Jenny Kush -- moved with her four children to Denver in 2010 to get away from a toxic relationship in Montana. She quickly became a fixture on the local cannabis scene, eventually landing her own radio show, SexPot Radio. She and DePinto started dating in September 2010 and soon fell in love. "We considered ourselves to be teammates," DePinto told us last year.
In the early hours of September 1, 2013, Kush and DePinto were driving home from the (hed) p.e. concert at Summit Music Hall. Wary of drunk drivers on Labor Day weekend, Kush told DePinto to take the HOV lane. "It will be safer," she said.
That turned out not to be the case. The same night, Maez was thrown out of a bar in north Denver for being too intoxicated, prosecutor Adrienne Green said at Friday's hearing. A friend tried to take Maez's keys away, Green said, but Maez got them back. She then climbed behind the wheel of a borrowed car and made a sharp left turn off of 70th Avenue onto the off-ramp for northbound I-25. There were no barriers or signs to warn her that she was driving in the wrong direction.
Rebecca Maez's mug shot.
In court on Friday, DePinto recounted what happened next. He said he remembers seeing headlights coming straight at them and then the car spinning out of control. When it came to a stop, in the oncoming lanes of southbound traffic, he got out -- and then crawled back in to try to save Kush.
"The car was smoking and there was my love, dying," DePinto said through tears. He recalled her whimpering as she struggled to breathe what would be her last breaths. "Then someone pulled me out of the car and I never saw her again."
Continue for more on Friday's sentencing.