News


Accused drunk driver pleads not guilty to mother, baby murder charges

Police say Livermore man was driving at speeds up to 99 mph on Murrieta Boulevard before accident

A Livermore man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of murder for killing a mother and her baby in a crash last month while he was allegedly driving drunk and speeding.

Brian Jones, 35, who is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court in Pleasanton on July 31 for a pretrial hearing.

Prosecutors and Livermore police allege that Jones lost control of his car while driving under the influence of alcohol and crashed into an apartment complex in the 900 block of Murrieta Boulevard just before 6:50 p.m. on May 2.

The collision killed 46-year-old Esperanza Morales-Rodriguez of Seaside and her 14-month-old daughter, Ulidia Perez-Morales, both of whom were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said debris from the crash also struck two boys ages 6 and 7, who were taken to a hospital for treatment.

In addition to the two murder counts, Jones faces two felony counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, causing injury, as well as multiple victim and excessive speed clauses.

Livermore police said Jones had attended the Livermore Wine Country Festival before the collision.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said when her office filed charges against Jones that his blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.14 percent, well above the legal limit for drinking and driving, and he was under the influence of alcohol as he drove his car at speeds ranging from 75 mph to 99 mph through residential streets in Livermore.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by iGood ol' Murrietta
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 17, 2015 at 9:18 pm

That street and it's drunk drivers. Back in the eighties another alleged drunk driver in a corvette T-Boned a 1969 Cameron, sptit the car in half and killed the passenger. It was again at a VERY high rate of speed and the driver of the vett got of easy. Bad road fatal wrecks. Does anybody remember the details of that accident long ago at around Pine street and Murrietta. 1985 ?

Anyway very bad road for drunks, see them all the time, around Pine street.


4 people like this
Posted by Murderer
a resident of Avila
on Jun 17, 2015 at 9:55 pm

He is a disgusting murderer. Should rot in prison.


7 people like this
Posted by Pray
a resident of Avila
on Jun 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Pray for both families.


22 people like this
Posted by Father Guido Sarducci
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2015 at 6:09 am

@ Pray.

Pray? Come on. Pray? Are you serious? Pray for what? Always kills me when I see holy rollers looking at a disastrous, life-changing, impossible situation, and commenting "Just pray on it". Yeah..never been a very religious person...but seems to me, praying does not make that woman and her baby come back to life. Unless I am mistaken? Praying does not make time go back and forbid Mr. Jones from drinking 8 beers and 2 shots of Jack and then getting in his Vette missile and driving at warp speed. What's done is done. Punish the guy with the right punishment. He took two lives. It's his fault. No one else's. Only he could have prevented it from happening. He didn't.How about praying on THAT?


14 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 18, 2015 at 8:38 am

Trying him for murder is a bad idea. It's not murder, it's negligent homicide. He didn't purposely kill them, he did something incredibly stupid that resulted in their deaths.
Not the same as say, following them into an alley and shooting them. Do you see the difference? He will beat this this wrap, or plea it down to a lesser charge and that's why this is such a bad idea.
Knee jerk reactions are rarely a good idea. Try him for the appropriate crime, if found guilty he should be punished for what he did. But changing the definition of the law is a dangerous precedent.


4 people like this
Posted by Dear sanity
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:01 am

Charging him with murder sends a message to individuals who get behind the wheel drunk, which still happens way too often despite the increased penalties. Murder charges require intent. They should be able to prove intent given his PRIOR DUI. Yes, they will still likely settle with a plea deal in the end, but good negotiation requires that the prosecution aim high given his prior bad behavior.

And it wasn't stupid; it was totally and completely reckless. I hope the family seeks civil damages as well.


5 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:37 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

If you kill someone while you are DUI, California prosecutors may charge you with murder. Prosecutors must prove the following three facts (otherwise known as ("elements of the crime").

1. The death resulted from an intentional act.
2. The natural consequences of that act are dangerous to human life.
3. You knowingly acted with conscious disregard for that act.

If there is a prior DUI conviction, prosecutors will easily prove all of the above.


7 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:57 am

@sanity: "Trying him for murder is a bad idea. It's not murder, it's negligent homicide. He didn't purposely kill them, he did something incredibly stupid that resulted in their deaths.
Not the same as say, following them into an alley and shooting them. Do you see the difference?"

He didn't have to purposely target and kill those two particular individuals for him to be charged with 2nd degree murder. I think that you are thinking of 1st degree murder. An example of 2nd degree murder is shooting a gun at a house which you know was occupied by people and killing one of them. You may not have specifically targeted any particular individual in the house, but yet your actions were so reckless and dangerous that you knew that your actions were very likely to result in the death of someone in the house. That's a step above manslaughter or "negligent homicide" but at the same time below 1st degree murder. Therefore, 2nd degree murder is the charge.

You may recall that Cody Hall, the teen arrested and convicted of the death of a woman bicyclist on Foothill Road while he was speeding on the 34-45 mph road at 84 mph, was charged with 2nd degree murder. Why? Because his actions rose above mere "negligence". He knew that his actions of habitually speeding on Foothill Road at speeds up to twice the speed limit were reckless and dangerous. He knew that his actions could cause the death of someone else, but he didn't care and continued to drive recklessly. That earned him a 2nd degree murder charge.

Don't know all the circumstances of the present case about the Livermore driver but, yes, if he was acting in total disregard of his knowledge that his actions could result in the deaths of others as he was speeding at up to 99 mph on city streets, then that's more serious than "negligent homicide". That would be 2nd degree murder.


8 people like this
Posted by Andy
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 18, 2015 at 12:23 pm

@ Father Guido Sarducci
@ Pray

Father Guido Sarducci you are really something. When someone says pray for the family they do not say pray to bring the dead back to life, they do not say pray to stop what ever happened from happening. NO PRAY FOR THE FAMILIES means to prya so that they can get through the tough times that lay ahead. Both families are impacted by what Brian did and both families need support in this very difficult time.


5 people like this
Posted by Anna
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Michael Austin is correct. This is a second degree murder case. Manslaughter might have worked IF, and it's a big if, he were not legally intoxicated. I predict a conviction if it goes to trial. He doesn't seem like the type to take a plea that will definitely involve serious jail time. I don't know him, but his actions speak loudly of someone who may be arrogant enough to think he can beat it.


2 people like this
Posted by Father Guido Sarducci
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:26 pm

@ Andy...

Uh...I know what to pray means dude. I wonder if you would be praying for Mr. Jones' family if it were YOUR wife and YOUR baby who were murdered by his senseless, thoughtless, heinous act. He may not have intentionally killed them...but he sure as hell intentionally got in a Corvette after having drank WAY too much, and intentionally drove said Corvetter WAY past the speed limit in a residential neighborhood. So....you want to pray for him and his family? Go right ahead. If it were you going to your wife and child's funeral right now, I have a sneaking suspicion that you would not be praying at all. In fact, I think you would be cursing.


4 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 20, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Praying for the families involved doesn't mean one can't also support a murder conviction. You're correct on thinking I'd be screaming for a conviction or more if it were my family, but I'd also hug his mother and wife as I know they'd share in my loss


3 people like this
Posted by Bbf
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 20, 2015 at 10:15 pm

How do you know the family hasn't enabled his behavior? If he has a wife, was she with him when he got drunk and decided to drive? I will reserve my prayers for the family of the victims and the children who don't have a mom and who were also seriously hurt. I will pray for her husband who will now be the mom and dad to their other children and that The Good Lord is with them as they mourn and during the years it will no doubt take for this case to wind its way through the criminal justice process. I will pray that this man and with his financial resources isn't able to buy his way out of trouble as we've seen othe do.

When I see the murderers family showing remorse and when his story comes out and we find out that maybe his family shows remorse and didn't enable him I will consider praying for them. But, if I they try to get him off with minimal punishment or help pay for an expensive attorney to try to beat the charge, I will not pray for them and I don't care if anyone agrees.


2 people like this
Posted by Andy
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 24, 2015 at 12:11 pm

@ Father Guido Sarducci

I said Pray for the families. If it were my family (and I have lost 2 children) I would be praying for his family as they must be going through a lot as well. I feel very sorry for the husband/father that must bury his wife and daughter and I am praying for him that he can find the strength to make it. I don't know if he has other children or not so all I can do is pray for both families because what Brian did is not excusable but that does not stop the praying just because he did one of the most preventable accidents from happening.

I can't help it if you don't believe in God or not but praying in difficult times is a must.


Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 25, 2015 at 9:57 am

What if a breath-analyzer was installed on all cars making it impossible to start if over the limit?

Where are those self-driving cars? We need them now.


Like this comment
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 25, 2015 at 11:30 am

@Ed: "What if a breath-analyzer was installed on all cars making it impossible to start if over the limit?"

Please. I consider myself to be fairly liberal, but that is too much of a "nanny-state" solution even to me. Shouldn't burden everyone with the inconvenience and cost of an installed breath-analyzer due to the failings of a few. Don't have a problem with those convicted of drunken driving to be required to install breath-analyzers in their own cars at their own expense, though.


Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 25, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Damon - I was being facetious with my suggestion, but really, everytime a drunk gets behind the wheel the public is at risk - that much we can all agree on.
The reality is the Legal Aid Society and the car makers would never go for installing any device that limits the use of a car, and convicted drunk drivers could just use another car that doesn't have the device installed.


Like this comment
Posted by YoYo
a resident of Foothill Farms
on May 23, 2017 at 11:43 am

Does anyone know what the status of this case now?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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