PASADENA (CNS) – Jurors in the trial of a big-rig driver accused of
causing a 2009 crash that killed a 12-year-old girl and her father in La Canada
Flintridge resumed deliberating today, one day after indicating they had
reached verdicts on most of the charges but were struggling to reach consensus
Marcos Costa, 46, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder,
two counts of vehicular manslaughter and three counts of reckless driving
causing injury stemming from the April 1, 2009, crash at Angeles Crest Highway
and Foothill Boulevard.
The 10-man, two-woman jury sent the judge a roughly two-page note
Thursday asking for guidance on issues relating to legal definitions of “great
bodily injury’ attached to two of the charges and differences between criminal
negligence and gross negligence.
Pasadena Superior Court Judge Darrell Mavis told the panel today he
could not offer them much assistance, saying they needed to rely on jury
“Unfortunately, the assistance the court can provide is very limited,’
The judge suggested that jurors consider shaking up their deliberation
method in hopes of breaking the deadlock.
The jury has been deliberating since July 21.
In court Thursday, Mavis asked if the panel had reached a verdict on the
two second-degree murder counts against Costa, and the jury foreman said yes.
But the juror said the panel has been unable to reach verdicts on the lesser
crime of involuntary manslaughter.
The foreman indicated the jury had reached verdicts on two counts of
vehicular manslaughter and three counts of reckless driving against Costa. But
jurors were apparently having difficulty making a decision on great-bodily
injury allegations involving the vehicular manslaughter counts as they related
to three other people injured in the crash.
Prosecutors contend Costa ignored repeated warnings that the brakes of
his double-decker, car-hauling big rig were failing as he traveled along the
mountain road leading into La Canada Flintridge and he should have turned
around and taken a safer route.
“This case is about all of the bad decisions that were made time after
time after time after time,’ Deputy District Attorney Carolina Lugo told the
10-man, two-woman jury during her closing argument. “The evidence tells you
that this was no accident.’
Defense attorney Edward Murphy countered that “in this case, there’s no
evidence that he (Costa) committed a crime.’ He blamed the tragedy on the
absence of a runaway truck ramp on Angeles Crest Highway.
Murphy told the jury that Costa’s truck and its brakes were working
properly throughout the drive until he reached the last mile and a half of the
highway. When the brakes failed, Costa did everything possible to stop the
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