The trial date has been set for the hit and run case that involved a deadly crash near the USC Campus last March. Claudia Cabrera, 30, and Josue Luna, 33, will appear before the court on Thursday, March 11. Lead prosecutor Janis Johnson said she expects the trial to run about ten days long.
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.
Jennifer Cabrera, Claudia Cabrera's sister, talks about the case. (Video shot by Cynthia Chang).
A hearing on February 11 marked the start of a 30-day period in which the trial is supposed to be set. The prosecution found more evidence pertaining to Marcus Garfinkle, whose injuries from the car’s windshield are arguable.
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.
“They’ve obtained an expert to analyze the windshield impacts. That discovery should be available today,” said Arash Hashemi, the defense attorney for Claudia Cabrera.
Judge Jose Sandoval granted a continuance that gives both the prosecution and the defense 20 days to gather more evidence. The trial date was then determined this morning.
According to Johnson, the lead prosecutor, the case is moving relatively quickly for a criminal case, although the trial date is yet to be determined.
Carmen Bachan, the mother of victim Adriana Bachan, believes otherwise, “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, - both intoxicated - 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.
Out-of-town family of the defendants, who are a couple, showed up at the courthouse today to support them.
“[Family] came from all over to make it to the court, and let her know that we’re all here. To let everybody else know that she has family that loves her,” said Cabrera’s sister, Jennifer Cabrera.
The two defendants remain in jail in lieu of $1 million bail each.