According to cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels, a San Fernando courthouse jury has found Marco Antonio Valencia guilt on all counts in the drunken, hit-and-run death of Joseph Novotny.
Valencia now faces 15 to life for a conviction on 2nd degree murder, as well as 24 to life due to special circumstance enhancements on the charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Wheels notes that Valenica’s two priors for driving while intoxicated may lead the judge to impose a stiffer sentence, on the higher end of the sentencing scale.
Sentencing scheduled for Thursday May 26th, at 8:45 am in Department C of the San Fernando courthouse; the D.A. will reportedly contact the other victims as well as Novotny’s family so they can be present for the sentencing.
Evidently, there was no question about guilt, as the jury deliberated for just 1 hour and 20 minutes before reaching a verdict. Novotny’s mother has been following the case and may have been in the courthouse for the reading of the verdict, before being taken to see the route Novotny rode and the scene of the collision by members of the Santa Clarita Velo Club.
Valencia was convicted on five of the original nine charges, after four lesser charges involving two of the other injured cyclists were dropped for unknown reasons.
There’s something unsettling and unsatisfying about jail time in situations like this. It’s inadequate, somehow. The whole thing is still so disturbing.
I couldn’t agree more. No matter how much time he gets, it won’t bring Joseph Novotny back, or change anything that happened on that awful day. As I wrote the first time I wrote about this case, the real tragedy is that two lives, and two families, were destroyed that day by one horrible decision to get behind the wheel.
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I can’t see how this verdict will do much to deter the next person who decides to drive drunk. But as far as the law is concerned, Justice was Served.That’s what disturbs me most about it.
I mean, if the prospect of killing someone isn’t enough of a deterrent, then is the prospect of a long jail term going to do any better?
This case is a tragedy for all concerned. For Mr. Novotny, for Mr. Valencia, for their families, and for the others who were injured or witnessed the carnage.
But if there is any silver lining, it is that there is one more drunk off the road and likely, another innocent person’s life saved. Maybe in that respect, Mr. Novotny’s life was not lost in vain.
Thanks to the DA for having the guts to file a second degree murder charge in this case … as the jury’s quick verdict confirms, the facts cried out for it.
And thanks to the jury for having the common sense to reject the wholly fatuous “clinically unconscious” defense.