Suspects Plead No Contest
Claudia Cabrera and Josue Luna have entered a plea of no contest to all charges related to a hit-and-run last March that killed a USC student, reports ATVN's Kate Cagle.
The change of plea comes on what was to be the first day of trial for the two suspects.
Sentencing is scheduled for Monday, May 24th.
Cabrera is charged with one felony count of leaving the scene of the accident and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter. Luna is charged with one felony count of leaving the scene of an accident.
Cabrera faces up to 8 years in prison. Luna faces up to 7 years.
Cabrera and Luna are accused of a hit-and-run crash that killed one USC student, Adrianna Bachan, and seriously injured another student, Marcus Garfinkle.
Garfinkle, who was hit by the car and landed on the windshield, was pulled off the windshield and “dumped on the sidewalk,” according to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Villar, who was referring to prior testimony.
Lead prosecutor Janis Johnson said Luna’s actions “caused further injury,” but Luna’s attorney, Jeffrey Benice, argued the injuries were caused by the crash and not the removal of his body from the windshield.
Judge Jose Sandoval granted a continuance March 3rd that gave both the prosecution and the defense 20 days to gather more evidence. But now no trial will be needed if the plea agreement goes through.
Carmen Bachan, the mother of victim Adriana Bachan, said early-March, “It’s been terrible. I can’t believe justice moves at this pace.”
Cabrera, who allegedly drove the car, is charged with one felony count of leaving the scene of the accident and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter. Luna is charged with one felony count of leaving the scene of the accident.
The crash took place as Bachan, 18, and Garfinkle, now 19, crossed Jefferson Boulevard at Hoover Street just before 3 a.m. on March 29th of last year. Police said the driver ran a red light before hitting the students, and sped off afterward.
Bachan had high levels of alcohol in her system when she died, according to the autopsy. Garfinkle said he had also been drinking that night, but was not drunk.