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Beatriz E. Valenzuela San Bernardino County Sun, Calif.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. — Alonzo Leron Smith, who took a plea bargain in the road-rage death of an off-duty 70-year-old San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, court records indicate.

At the Friday sentencing, the family of Deputy Larry Falce asked the court that Smith be housed at a facility closer to his family so his children can visit him, records show. Smith is scheduled to serve his time at the California Institute for Men in Chino.

“I may never know why Alonzo did what he did or what set him off, but he has a chance to make better choices going forward,” said Falce’s sister, Marjorie Falce-Jorgensen. “My hope for Alonzo is that he will learn to appreciate life and those he has in it. That is why I requested that he be remanded to a prison nearby so that his children and family can visit and remain in his life.”

Smith, 31, pleaded no contest in December to voluntary manslaughter, three counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, and one count of threatening a crime — all felonies.

Falce was off-duty on the morning of Dec. 31, 2017, when he and Smith were involved in a fender-bender on Kendall Avenue near University Parkway in San Bernardino.

The two got out of their vehicles and, during the confrontation, Smith struck Falce in the face, causing Falce to fall backward and hit his head on the pavement. The 70-year-old was left unconscious and died the following day.

On New Year’s Eve, Deputy Larry Falce was violently attacked after a minor traffic collision in his personal vehicle….

Posted by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Smith left the scene after the fatal blow but was arrested a few days later. He was initially charged with murder and gang enhancements. He was also charged with elder abuse and dissuading a witness. But all of the original charges were dropped in exchange for his plea agreement.

“Anger, hatred and all negative feelings and emotions are poison to our souls, so don’t let negativity take root when something bad happens,” the sister said.

“With that in mind, and after much thought, prayer and introspection, I wrote a victim’s impact statement that spoke first to my brother’s remarkable life of service to his country and community and included an impassioned message that our choices and actions matter, that we should treat everyone with kindness, fairness and equality and never be judgmental.”

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©2019 the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.)

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