'She Wanted an Adventure'

By Eric S. Page and Steven Luke
|  Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009  |  Updated 11:24 PM PDT
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A Community in Mourning

NBCSandiego.com

Dowdy showing her favorite picture of her daughter

Photos and Videos

Raw Video: Mom Speaks About the Loss of Her Daughter

A grieving mother talks about her daughter, Emily, and Emily's killer.

Victim's Outraged Mother Demands Justice

Reaction from the victim's mother, Ellie Dowdy, after the court hearing for the drunk driver who allegedly killed her daughter.
More Photos and Videos

A grieving mother talked Tuesday about her daughter, Emily, and Emily's killer.

Emotions were running high in San Diego superior court on Tuesday when Alan Mabrey was sentenced on his seventh lifetime DUI charge. In the latest incident, he was behind the wheel on Feb. 7 when Emily Dowdy, 24, was killed while in a crosswalk in Pacific Beach. On Tuesday, Judge Charles Rogers sentenced Mabrey to 20 years to life in prison.

Afterward, Emily's mother, Ellie, spoke about her daughter's journey.

"When she decided to move here from Orlando," said her mom, who was visibly distraught, "she said, 'I want to live by the ocean.' And I said, 'Honey, we live in Florida. There's ocean all around us.' But she wanted an adventure."

The loss of her daughter has devastated Dowdy.

"She was my gypsy," Dowdy said. "She was a hippie."

Prior to sentencing, Mabrey addressed the court.

"I want to send my deepest condolences to Miss Emily Dowdy," Mabrey said, appearing to choke up at times. "If there was any way I could have been that girl, taken her place, I would have. I just want to say I'm sorry. It was an accident. It wasn't a murder. I didn't see her. It was an accident."

In a hallway after court, Dowdy said she had reservations about Mabrey's comments prior to sentencing.

"I want to believe that he's sorry," Dowdy said. "I want to believe that he understands a little bit, but I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical because he, if he was truly sorry, and if he truly felt responsible, he wouldn't have ... he would have pleaded guilty."

Rogers, too, spoke to the family prior to handing down the sentence.

"To Emily's family and friends: I am profoundly sorry for your loss," Rogers said, adding that their loss was "unimaginable."

Dowdy said after court that her daughter had donated her kidney, liver, pancreas and other organs to seven people after her death.

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