SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former nursing student who served time for a 2010 hit-and-run fatality on a Rancho Penasquitos freeway and admitted helping sneak methamphetamine-laced greeting cards into the jail was sentenced Tuesday to four years in state prison.
Nicoll Koval, 25, also pleaded guilty to having marijuana and illegal prescription drugs at the Las Colinas Detention Facility.
With credit for time already served, Koval should get out of custody in eight or nine months, attorneys on the case said.
Defense attorney Gretchen von Helms said Koval was sexually abused as a child and has suffered psychological injuries, causing her to make poor choices as an adult.
"She's not a bad person," von Helms told Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide.
Koval's good friend, Kristin Nasrawi, said the defendant is a "really good person" with a "heart of gold."
"She was affected as a young child with something that no child should have to go through," Nasrawi said outside court. "It's just not fair that she had to go through that."
Nasrawi said Koval has a great support group and many people love her.
"She feels very bad for what's happened," she said. "She has a lot of regrets, and unfortunately has made some bad choices, and the only thing she can do is move forward and hopefully make a better life for herself."
Koval pleaded guilty last year to a felony hit-and-run charge in the death of Albert Lee Holman, who was struck while walking on the side of state Route 56 shortly before 3 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2010. Koval fled the scene and didn't turn herself in until the next day.
The defendant was sentenced in June 2011 to a year in jail and placed on three years probation.
Prosecutor Michael Runyon unsuccessfully argued for time in prison.
"She (Koval) dodged a huge bullet on that day," the prosecutor told the judge Tuesday.
While in custody, Koval made phone calls to help an inmate smuggle methamphetamine into the jail on greeting cards. She pleaded guilty to those charges this past June and three days later was charged with having marijuana and other illegal drugs, including drugs not prescribed to her, in the jail, Runyon said.
Koval pleaded guilty to the drug charges in July.