Capellan begins probation sentence, talks regret and redemption

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Updated: 1/22/2014 9:22 pm
"I've been in here for almost a week now. I've been doing pretty good, just trying to get the jist of being incarcerated." 

One week in jail already feels like a lifetime for Benito Capellan. 

"It's really made me realize how grateful I really am for getting probation, because, ten years, I can't even imagine."

Capellan is serving 134 days of "shock" time. It is part of his ten-year probation sentence he received after killing German study abroad student Britta Schnider in a drunk driving crash back in April of 2012. He said he was out celebrating his birthday, and was heavily intoxicated when he decided to drive home. During his trial, he testified he never saw Schnider riding her bike when he hit her from behind. 

"You don't want this on your conscience, what it does to the victim's family," Capellan said. "It's, all around, a tragedy for everyone."

When he is done serving his shock time, another condition of Capellan's probation is to keep Schnider's bike in his bedroom for the duration of his sentence. 

"Psychologically, yes, it's going to be hard for me," Capellan said. "But, at the same time, I receive it. I will receive it because it will remind me every day. Not that I need something to remind me every day, but it's more of just the impact that it will have on me, and I will take that as a positive, truly."

Capellan will also have to keep handwritten letters from Schnider's family with him at all times. He said he requested to have those letters delivered to him at the Lubbock County Detention Center. 

"Having them with me everywhere I go is like having a part of her with me everywhere I go," Capellan said. "I read it whenever I get a chance, again, to keep my motivation so I won't forget, what has passed."

While he said this sentence will not be easy, he is now working to inform others never to drink and drive. 

"I actually have started to write a book about my experiences the past 18 months," Capellan said. "it has allowed me to kind of pinpoint the things I want to do, how to make myself better, how to become stronger in certain situations, how to help others not do the same things I did."

Capellan has also founded the Gallup program in Arlington, a student-run non-profit organization that gives students a safe ride home. For more information, click here
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