LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Johnny Sabo was a free spirit, but his zest for life came to a tragic end after a hit-and-run crash.
Now, his family says they are fighting to keep the woman who killed him from getting out of prison early by using Nevada's "residential confinement" program.
"Johnny was loved so much and he was a free spirit, and Las Vegas was his home," said Tina Quizon, Sabo's older sister.
"He loved Las Vegas," added Quizon.
Johnny was the baby of the family, and as he grew up through the years he became a talented singer. He sang everything from rock and roll to opera.
Quizon says his life came to a violent end when she received a call that her baby brother was in really bad shape after a hit-and-run crash near Wynn Road and Harmon Boulevard on Aug. 15, 2017.
Sabo was rushed to UMC where doctors declared him "brain dead."
His friend, Daria Jepsen, came to be by his side, while his out-of-state family rushed by plane.
"I promised him, I'm going to get justice for you," said Jepsen.
"I'm going to find whoever did this to you, I got you Johnny. I promise I'll get justice for you we're gonna find who did this, we're gonna get them put away," said Jepsen.
Jepsen was Johnny's long-time friend of 25 years.
She was there as he laid in a hospital bed long enough to have his organs donated.
Sabo was declared dead on Aug. 16 at 6:12 p.m.
Jepsen pleaded with the public for help to locate the driver on Aug. 23, 2017 during at 13 Action News broadcast.
On Aug. 29, 2017, police received information from relatives which developed Alejandra Robertson, 23 at the time, as a suspect.
According to the police report obtained by 13 Action News, Robertson admitted she was was driving when she hit Sabo and she left the scene because she was scared.
FULL ARREST REPORT: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrest report for Alejandra Robertson
Robertson said she parked her 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier around the corner from the crash scene and attempted to remove the damaged windshield with a saw.
Police noted authorities never received a call about the crash, and it was an NHP trooper who came upon the crash.
Robertson was arrested and booked for "Duty to Stop at Scene of Crash Involving Death."
Robertson would take a plea deal to the lesser charge of "Leaving the Scene of an Accident"-- a non-violent crime according to Nevada law.
She was sentenced to serve between 4 and 12 years behind bars, and Sabo's family and friends say they expect her to serve the minimum time at least.
"And then bam! There is this letter and it just floored me," said Jepsen regarding a letter she received indicating Robertson had applied for residential confinement, approximately 18 months before her parole eligibility date.
"I literally cried for probably 20 hours, I just couldn't believe it," she said.
"I felt any bit of justice that we got was taken back, and it brought me right back to the hospital where I saw with my best friend, giving him butterfly kisses and rubbing his arm," added Jepsen.
The letter from the Nevada Department of Corrections, Victim's Services Unit, indicates Robertson would be able to attend school or work in the community in an effort to pay restitution, court fees and fines, if approved.
"I'm bewildered," said Quizon.
"I'm lost because when you think you have justice, this is an injustice," added Quizon.
13 Investigates contacted the Nevada Department of Corrections regarding the Robertson situation, and a spokesperson indicated Robertson's crime is considered "non-violent" according to state law and therefore, if she meets the additional requirements, including intensive program participation, counseling, and fees, she could be released on residential confinement before her parole date.
13 Investigates has learned The Nevada Department of Corrections residential confinement program has faced scrutiny as recently as the 2019 legislative session.
Lawmakers heard testimony from Nevada Department of Corrections Director James Dzurenda.
Dzurenda has since resigned from his position.
"For this residential program, currently the director of corrections has no authority to deny anybody," said Dzurenda during his testimony on Feb. 20, 2019.
Dzurenda said he approved inmates he felt were a danger to themselves or to the community at large, because of the way the program was created.
"I'm looking at some of these cases saying these individuals truly need certain specific behavioral therapy, they refuse it, and I still have to approve it," explained Dzurenda.
"It made no sense to me that they could still be jeopardizing the community to that effect," added Dzurenda.
A Department of Corrections spokesperson adds, victims or their families were often times not consulted or aware an inmate had applied or was being considered for the home confinement program.
Lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 61, which now allows for the Nevada Department of Corrections to solicit victim feedback during the evaluation process of the home confinement program.
Sabo's friends and family say they want more changes to the home confinement program to include inmates serving as much as their minimum sentence before consideration for home confinement.
The Department of Corrections did not grant a request for an on camera interview and adds Robertson's residential confinement application status is confidential.
Tune in to 13 Action News Live at 11 on March 17. 13 Investigative Reporter Joe Bartels digs for answers, including why victims' thoughts and opinions were not considered in the decisions to grant house arrest. Tune in on channel 13 or watch live at 11 p.m. on ktnv.com, the KTNV mobile app, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and/or Apple TV.