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Coban Porter, brother of Nuggets star, sentenced to six years in prison for fatal drunk-driving crash

Katharina Rothman, 42, was killed in the January 2023 crash.
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Posted at 12:28 PM, Apr 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 19:21:50-04

DENVER – Coban Porter, a former University of Denver basketball player and brother to Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr., was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison for killing a woman while driving under the influence 15 months ago.

Porter had pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and reckless vehicular assault charges back in February. A third charge was dismissed in the agreement.

Investigators said Porter crashed into another vehicle when he ran a red light at the intersection of Buchtel Boulevard and South University around 2 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2023. Katharina Rothman, 42, died as a result of the crash. A passenger in her vehicle, Jason Blanch, was seriously injured.

Porter had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash, according to a lawsuit filed by Rothman’s family. He apologized in court Friday.

“I know that I’m never going to be able to right that wrong," he said. "I never thought I’d be standing here. I thought I was invincible. It wasn’t the first time I chose to drink and drive. I’m so sorry.”

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Coban Porter in court on Friday, April 19, 2024

Rothman’s mother spoke before the sentencing of the pain that her daughter’s death has caused her.

“The day Katharina was killed is the day my life would never be the same,” Connie Johnson said. “Every part of my life that raised joy and happiness is met in tandem with the anguish of her absence.”

Michael Porter Jr., who said he was the first to learn about the fatal crash in the hours after it happened, spoke on behalf of his brother.

“I truly don’t think I’d be in the position I am today as a professional basketball player without a brother like Coban pushing me every day,” he said. “I know it’s not often that a big brother looks up to a younger brother, but that is how it was for me.”

Coban Porter was sentenced to six years in prison on one count, and two years on a separate count, but the judge ordered those sentences to be served concurrently.

Denver7's Kristian Lopez recaps the sentencing hearing, including Michael Porter Jr.'s testimony, in the video player below:

Coban Porter, brother of Nuggets star, sentenced to six years in prison for fatal drunk-driving crash