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Man gets 35 years in carjacking case

Published January 21, 2007


BARTOW - A man received a 35-year sentence for crushing a woman's leg as he stole her car, leading to the limb's amputation.

Kevin Rhoton, 26, stared at the floor as his victim, Bethzaida Concepcion, wept hysterically Friday as she described the pain and loss she has suffered since she was injured June 13 outside a Haines City convenience store.

"He's taken something from me that he can never give back. I cannot stand on both my legs. I was born with both my legs; I had those legs for 36 years," said Concepcion, the mother of three. "You could have killed me. My children wouldn't have had a mother."

Concepcion said she forgave Rhoton, but said he deserved to be punished.

Rhoton was convicted of carjacking and burglary.

Concepcion left the keys in the ignition of her 1994 Infiniti when she ran into the store to buy a drink.

Rhoton admitted during hearings last month that he ran over to the car and tried to steal it.

Concepcion ran out of the store, pulled open the driver's side door and wrestled with Rhoton, shouting at him to get out. Instead, he put the car in reverse and backed into a concrete barrier by the gas pumps, causing Concepcion to be dragged backward. Her leg was crushed between her car door and the concrete barrier.

Rhoton then drove off but quickly ditched the car and ran away.

Concepcion's left leg had to be amputated at the hip.

[Last modified January 21, 2007, 00:52:50]

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