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Beaumont man sentenced to 12 years for girlfriend's death

Salvador Mijares was charged with aggravated family assault with a deadly weapon last April after his wife, Tonya Rhodes, fell off his moving vehicle.

A Beaumont man was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison for his girlfriend's death last year.

Salvador Mijares was charged with aggravated family assault with a deadly weapon last April after his girlfriend, Tonya Rhodes, fell off his moving vehicle.

Mijares pleaded guilty and Criminal District Judge John Stevens had the discretion to sentence him to probation to as much as 20 years in prison.

Mijares does have the option to appeal his sentencing.

Police responded April 27, 2017 to a reported fight on Toccoa Road.

Investigators at the time said there was a disturbance and Rhodes had jumped on a car and Mijares drove away. She fell off the moving vehicle and was injured, later dying from those injuries.

Mijares claimed Rhodes was high on methamphetamine and attacked him in a meth-induced rage. However, Rhodes' autopsy tested negative for drugs in her system.

According to prosecutors, Mijares drove with Rhodes on the hood of his car for a quarter of a mile before she fell.

Prosecutors estimate Rhodes was on the hood of the car for at least 30 seconds.

"This was not her fault," Judge Stevens said Monday in court. "This was not a tragic accident. This was a crime.

"You could've stopped anytime, anywhere before she fell off. Her life was in your control and she lost her life."

Rhodes' mother and sister attended Monday's hearing and addressed Mijares. The mother said Mijares could've called her if there were any issues.

She didn't find out what happened to her daughter until hours later. She said she's glad Mijares will be locked up.

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