A husband and wife pleaded no contest
Thursday in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed a USC student and severely injured another as they walked home last year from a fraternity party near campus.
The incident generated outrage after witnesses reported seeing a passenger in the couple's car hauling the body of the injured student out of the vehicle's broken windshield and dumping him onto the sidewalk before the car sped off.
On Thursday, Carmen Bachan said she was surprised by the plea but relieved that the family would be spared the anguish of a trial. Speaking to reporters at Griffith Park, where her daughter enjoyed riding ponies as a little girl, she criticized the maximum possible sentence -- seven years in prison for Luna and eight for Cabrera.
"If your daughter had been killed like that, is eight years enough? Is seven years enough? No, I don't think it is," Bachan said. "They never apologized. Never. Ever."
Luna's attorney, Jeffrey S. Benice, said the plea showed that the couple took responsibility for their actions, which had destroyed their lives. Neither Cabrera, a preschool teacher, nor Luna, a contractor, had criminal records, Benice said, and the couple had hoped to resolve the case earlier but could not agree on a deal with prosecutors.
"They feel terrible, as any normal human being would," he said. "Their lives have been tragically altered, and they take responsibility for that."
The couple entered pleas to a felony count of hit-and-run and inflicting great bodily injury just before their trial was to begin in downtown Los Angeles. Cabrera also pleaded to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter. A no-contest plea has the same effect in criminal court as a guilty plea. The couple face at least three years in prison
when they are sentenced May 24, Benice said.