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ARLINGTON Loubna Elharazin struggles to hold up her son, who hangs motionless in her arms.

I got you, doodoo, she coos.

Abdallah Khader's life has all but stopped, but his body keeps growing, and swelling from all the steroids and medicines that keep him alive.

His cheeks are abnormally chubby. His eyes roll, but don't focus.

Sometimes you see tears coming out of his eyes, his mom says. But to be honest with you, we don't know what makes him mad. All we do is hold him and try to make him comfortable.

Abdallah's parents know who makes them mad: Stewart Richardson.

Tests show his blood alcohol was three times the legal limit when his truck smashedtheirsedan at an Arlington stoplight last February.

Abdallah was crushed in his car seat. Doctors said 80 percent of his brain is destroyed.

Prosecutors had hoped to send Richardson to prison this week for life.

Instead, a judge granted a pre-trial defense motion Fridaylimiting punishment to a maximum of 20 years. His lawyers argued that Richardson's previous DWI convictions are all misdemeanors.

Prosecutors found seven of them in four other states, including a crash that injured several people in Iowa in 1994.

If any of them had been felonies, prosecutors in Arlington could ask for a life sentence.

I don't care what it's called in Iowa, Elharazin said. Misdemeanor, whatever it's called in Iowa -- look at the real cases. Look at the people he hurt. Look at the damage he's caused these people.

Prosecutors appealed the judge's ruling. They say the law is on their side, and they hope for a reversal.

Abdallah Khader's mom no longer dwells on hope.

Before, I had hope, and I had faith, she said. Now -- after a year has passed -- every day waiting for a little miracle to happen, something little; I lost hope.

Still, she and her husband asked prosecutors to appeal the judge's ruling to a higher court. It could delay Richardson's trial by a year.

Meanwhile, Abdallah Khader will turn four years old in April.


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