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Murder charges reinstated

April 07, 2010|By Megan O’Neil

A state appeals court on Tuesday reinstated murder charges against the driver who lost control of his big rig last year, killing two people in La Cañada Flintridge at the base of the steep Angeles Crest (2) Highway.

In overturning a lower court decision to throw out the charges, a panel for the California 2nd District Court of Appeal on Tuesday ruled there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Marcos Barbosa Costa was aware of the “great risk” involved as he drove his five-axle truck down the Angeles Crest Highway on April 1 last year.

“We conclude there is some rational ground for assuming the possibility that Costa was aware of the risk to human life posed by continuing to drive his large semi-trailer truck down the highway, and that he consciously and deliberately disregarded that risk,” the court wrote.

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The ruling came less than a week after family members of the victims — 58-year-old Angel Jorge Posca and his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina, both of Palmdale — marked the one-year anniversary of the accident with a memorial service in La Cañada.

The prosecution had been fighting to get the murder charges reinstated since October, when they were dismissed by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench.

“We are gratified that the appellate court saw the evidence as we saw it,” said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Costa’s defense attorney, Steve Meister, called the appellate court’s decision “morally bankrupt” and said the push to charge his client with murder was far outside the lines of fair justice. He has repeatedly called the crash a terrible accident.

“I feel like the parties who are suppose to be responsible in the justice system have become an angry mob from an old west town seeking vigilantly justice against an innocent man,” Meister said.

The 44-year-old trucker from Everett, Mass. was descending Angeles Crest Highway on April 1, 2009 when he lost his breaks and smashed through a busy intersection at Foothill Boulevard, killing Posca and his daughter.

At least two motorists noticed smoke spewing from the truck’s tires, and trailed it down the mountainous pass trying to get Costa to stop, according to statements in Superior Court records.

The court opinion is expected to be finalized April 30, at which time Meister can appeal the ruling to the California Supreme Court.

“We are going to Pasadena on April 30 and we will take it from there,” Meister said. “I don’t know what course the case will take.”


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