Worden gets 12 years for manslaughter

Mugshot of Patrick Archie Worden. (Courtesy of The Burlingame Police Dept.)

Mugshot of Patrick Archie Worden. (Courtesy of The Burlingame Police Dept.)

Patrick Archie Worden, the Santa Rosa man accused of killing Jihan Abdel-Gawad and friend, was sentenced on Feb. 3, to 12 years in prison.

Worden, 23, received the maximum sentencing available for his crime. He was charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter.

The Friday Worden received his sentencing was the first time the girl’s families chose to speak in court. Both families spoke on their loss, and how their lives will never be the same.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe was present each time Worden had to appear in court and said the families speaking was an important factor in Worden receiving the maximum sentence.

“The women’s families made very impassioned speeches,” Wagstaffe said. “If the judge was thinking of being lenient, their statements definitely impacted that.”

The trial has been going on since Oct. 25 when Worden delayed his plea two times. He finally made his guilty plea on Nov. 22, and then waited for his sentencing.

“He received the maximum sentence and it is good,” Wagstaffe said. “The defendant spoke on how he was sorry. He did look genuine. [In so many of these cases] so many of those people get arrogant but I’ve seen him in court and he looked sorry, but it’s too late for that now.”

Worden’s pickup truck drifted off to the shoulder hitting Abdel-Gawad and Ashlee Prather on Oct. 16 2005. The girls were on the side of the road with supposed car troubles. One girl was sitting in a lawn chair, the other in the open trunk of the car. Both were pronounced dead on the scene.

A breathalyzer given two hours after the authorities arrived confirmed Worden’s blood alcohol level at .16, twice what the legal limit permits. A toxicology report was obtained later that showed in addition to alcohol, Worden also had methamphetamines in his system at the time he struck Abdel-Gawad and Prather.

Abdel-Gawad was a soccer player at Skyline College and a freshman during the fall 05 semester that she was killed. She was looked upon as a role model for turning her life around after becoming a heavy drinker. She graduated as her class valedictorian from Serramonte Del Rey High School.

The fatal accident happened in the 1600 block of El Camino in Burlingame. A memorial in memory of the girls is displayed on a tree where it happened, to remember them.

Worden’s 12 year sentence might not be a 12 year sentence. According to Wagstaffe, vehicular manslaughter cases only require the prisoner to complete 50 percent of his sentence.

“Under California law, he will get out in six years if he keeps his nose clean,” Wagstaffe said. “It’s a 50 percent chance for this kind of case where in other cases like rape or violent crimes the prisoner must complete 85 percent of his sentence or murder the inmate must complete 100 percent. We only enforce the law, the legislature makes them.”