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Los Osos woman sentenced for death of Morro Bay pastor

Posted at 2:34 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 22:43:35-04

A Los Osos woman was taken into custody Monday after being sentenced to six years and four months in state prison for driving drunk and killing a Morro Bay pastor last year.

Some of victim Dale Paulsen’s family spoke at the hearing and at least 50 people in the packed San Luis Obispo courtroom wore yellow roses with the saying, “In memory of Dale” underneath.

The sentence handed down to Emily Bales comes after she pleaded no contest last month to a charge of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence and admitted to fleeing the scene of the Nov. 18, 2018 crash in Los Osos.

Investigators say Bales was behind the wheel when she struck Paulsen, 67, the pastor of Morro Bay Presbyterian Church, who was reportedly walking along the shoulder of Ramona Avenue in Los Osos in the evening hours.

Bales’ BAC was reportedly .13 two hours after the crash.

During Monday afternoon’s sentencing, Paulsen’s son, Andrew, spoke, saying in part, “The dead cannot cry out for justice, it is a duty of the living.” He added that a price could not be put on his dad’s life.

"Forgiveness is a tricky thing but like I said in my statement no amount of sentencing no amount of anything, brings my dad back,” said Andrew Paulsen.

The victim’s sister, Lynn Paulsen, also spoke, saying to Bales, “I also forgive you.”

Before the sentence was handed down, Bales’ attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, told the court his client met with Paulsen’s wife at the church last Friday where they spoke and shared a hug.

Bales sentence also included an $1,800 fine.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office says under Prop. 57, Bales could be considered for parole after serving only eight months.