taking out a tree hugger, bicyclist, Frenchman and gay in one shot




An Arizona judge threw the book at a two-time convicted drunk driver
who killed a bicyclist and then laughed about it in a jailhouse phone
call with a cold-hearted friend.

Listen to the 'Breathtaking" Jail House Phone CallIn the phone call,
played during the sentencing hearing, Melissa Arrington, 27, listened,
as a friend know only as "Little Joe" makes a tasteless attempt to
cheer her up. He tells her that she should get a medal and a parade
because she had "taken out'' a "tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman
and a gay guy all in one shot."

Arrington can be heard laughing at the comment. After admitting that
she is "not supposed to be laughing at stuff like that,'' she seems to
reconsider and says, with a giggle, "I would have to agree with

Pima County Superior Court Judge Michael R. Cruikshank told Arrington
that the call was "breathtaking in it's inhumanity," and sentenced her
to the maximum: 10-and-a-half years in jail.

When Little Joe, told Arrington he knew it was a terrible thing to
say, she responded, "No, it's not,'' according to a recording of the
call obtained by ABC News Law & Justice Unit.

The family of her victim, Paul L'Ecuyer, a caregiver at a local group
home in Arizona, sat in court and heard the tape for the first time at
Arrington's sentencing.

"It was fairly stunning," Cruikshank said in a telephone interview
with ABC News on Thursday. "It's got to have been a very difficult
thing [for the victim's family] to hear."

Deputy Pima County Attorney Jonathan Mosher said he came across the
call as part of a routine review of jailhouse communications. He
sought to introduce the audiotape at trial for the jury, but Judge
Cruikshank ruled against the motion, explaining that the proper venue
for the airing of the audio was at sentencing.

The jury acquitted Arrington of manslaughter, the most serious charge
against her, and convicted her of negligent homicide.

"For whatever warped reason, he was trying to cheer her up,''
Arrington's attorney, Assistant Pima County Public Defender Michael
Rosenbluth said. "That's not to say that it excuses her and not saying
it's not outrageous, but it's not that easy when you're in custody.
You'll sometimes talk to anybody."

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