The husband and wife convicted in the hit-and-run that killed one USC student and seriously injured another will serve the maximum sentence in state prison, a judge said before a packed courtroom Monday.
Friends and family of Adrianna Bachan, the USC freshman who was killed in a hit-and-run last March, filled the courtroom in Downtown Los Angeles to hear the sentencing of Claudia Cabrera and Josue Luna, whose Infiniti struck Bachan and fellow student Marcus Garfinkle near the intersection of Hoover Street and Jefferson Boulevard on March 29, 2009.
Cabrera, who was driving the car, was sentenced to eight years in prison. Luna, the car’s passenger, will serve seven years. Authorities say Luna pulled Garfinkle from the hood of the car after the crash and left him on the side of the road, severely injured.
In sentencing the couple, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said, “The actions of the defendants on March 29th of 2009 were outrageous and shocking.”
Perry denied the defense’s request that the two serve shorter terms. He said the couple tried to evade responsibility by lying to police and covering up the crime. He called their actions “extremely callous.”
During Monday’s hearing, Luna and Cabrera said they were sorry for their actions and wanted to apologize to Bachan’s family as well as Garfinkle and his family.
“We are truly sorry for the great pain we caused you,” Luna said, addressing Bachan’s family.
Speaking to Garfinkle, who also spoke at the hearing, Luna said, “I know your life has changed completely. My plan was never to let you die there or toss you.”
Garfinkle said in court Monday that his injuries have made it difficult for him even to walk to class without pain medication. He said he has titanium rods in his legs and is expecting to undergo more surgeries. The Los Angeles Times reports that Garfinkle’s family is currently fighting the health insurance company over about $200,000 worth of medical bills.
“My life is forever changed and there’s nothing I can do about it,” Garfinkle said. “I am helpless.”
Like Luna, Cabrera also expressed remorse, saying that although the crash was an accident, she was ashamed of herself for not taking responsibility and for lying to the police.
The prosecution alleged that Cabrera, when questioned, tried to blame her husband and did not admit responsibility. Additionally, the prosecution said the pair tried to cover up the crime by having the car’s windshield fixed before towing the vehicle to Mexico.
“My actions that night do not reflect the person that I am,” she said. “I am not a monster … I hope that all of you can find it in your hearts to forgive me and my husband.”
But Carmen Bachan, Adrianna’s mother, told reporters she is serving a “life sentence.”
“I will never, ever, ever forgive them,” Bachan said. “I don’t have that capacity in me, I’m sorry to say.”
Cabrera was arrested April 2 based on a tip police received following the announcement of a large monetary reward for information leading to a conviction. Luna was arrested April 18 as he was crossing into the United States from Mexico. In March, both pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of an accident. Cabrera also pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter.