News

Livermore: Man sentenced to 30 years to life for double-fatal DUI crash

Mother, baby killed when car plowed into apartment complex; defendant pursuing appeal alleging juror misconduct

A Livermore man was sentenced Friday to 30 years to life for killing a mother and her baby in a drunk-driving crash in Livermore in 2015.

Brian Jones, 39, was convicted last Nov. 13 of two counts of second-degree murder for causing the deaths of 46-year-old Esperanza Morales-Rodriguez of Seaside and her 14-month-old daughter, Ulidia Perez-Morales, on May 2, 2015.

Prosecutors and police said Jones lost control of his car while driving under the influence of alcohol and killed Morales-Rodriguez and her daughter when he crashed into an apartment complex in the 900 block of Murrieta Boulevard just before 6:50 p.m. that day.

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 was convicted of felony driving while intoxicated for injuring the 7-year-old boy.

Livermore police said Jones had attended the Livermore Wine Country Festival before the collision and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said his blood-alcohol content was 0.14%, well above the legal limit for drinking and driving.

O'Malley said Jones 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.

Jones' lawyer Ernie Castillo asked that Jones be allowed to serve his two second-degree convictions concurrently for a total of only 15 years to life but Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi ruled that Jones should serve them consecutively for a total of 30 years to life.

Castillo said after the sentencing that Delucchi acknowledged that Jones genuinely is remorseful for what he did and that a parole board should take that under consideration when he's eligible for parole.

Castillo said Jones has an appellate lawyer lined up to seek a new trial based on the defense's contention that there was juror misconduct during his trial late last year.

Delucchi ruled before Jones' trial began that the prosecution couldn't tell jurors that Jones has a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated in Sacramento County in 2003 because that information would be prejudicial.

But Castillo said that when a female juror told other jurors during deliberations that she would vote to convict Jones of gross vehicular manslaughter instead of second-degree murder, another female juror, in an attempt to get her to change her mind, told her in front of the entire panel about Jones' prior conviction.

Castillo said Delucchi dismissed the juror who disclosed Jones' prior conviction but he also dismissed the juror who had reported that juror's comments.

Castillo said he believes "jurors used external information to deliberate, which is a violation of fundamental principles of constitutional law and the right to a fair trial."

In his closing argument in the case, Castillo admitted that what Jones did was irresponsible but said he should only be convicted of the lesser charge of gross vehicular manslaughter because he believes Jones didn't intend to kill anyone.

— Bay City News Service

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Comments

8 people like this
Posted by Norm H
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:48 am

Three years to send this man to jail. Justice delayed is no justice at all. Should have been tried back in 2015 why are lawyers allowed to delay justice???????


36 people like this
Posted by Robert S. Allen
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:46 am

Far better than one year in the county jail served by the drunk driver with suspended license who killed my wife and our preschool son and critically injured our infant daughter on Vallecitos Road in 1964.


6 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 22, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Norm,
Great question. But at least a resolution has been reached, and far more significant than the drunk sheriff's wife that murdered a young boy on the side of the freeway or the dublin lawyer that murdered a chinese tourist and fled the scene to go to dubai and do lines of coke.


4 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 22, 2018 at 8:29 pm

Brian Jones consumed alcohol, he drove his car recklessly, dangerously at high rate of speed. Brian Jones killed people with his car. Thirty years to life is not enough justice for the victims.


10 people like this
Posted by My opinion
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:15 am

My opinion is a registered user.

I agree that no sentence other than the forfeit of his own life will really be just. Even that would not bring back the lost lives of his victims. However, considering the extremely short sentences mentioned above -- as well as our own home grown Cody Hall -- this is at least an improvement.


4 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Speaking of Cody Hall, he should probably be out on parole sometime in the next year or so. Hope that he has turned over a new leaf.


11 people like this
Posted by Well.....
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Well..... is a registered user.

Robert S. Allen, I cannot begin to imagine the pain you have gone thru after the terrible tragedy that you endured. The slap on the wrist that the killer of your wife and son received is typical of the "justice" metered out to these roadway murderers. I am so sorry. God bless and God rest their souls.


3 people like this
Posted by john
a resident of Dublin
on Oct 24, 2018 at 4:34 am

All these convicted offenders should have their names and pictures for all to see.


2 people like this
Posted by Bev
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

Do you really think that locking up a person for the rest of their life is the answer? They made a mistake. Yes, they may have taken a life, but I am sure that that was not their intention when they took that drink. Bad decisions are made and accidents happen all the time. One verses another does not negate the fact that all lives are precious. Let me repeat that.... ALL lives are precious, including the one who caused the accident. We toss people away like they do not matter. This is not the answer. Life behind bars does not serve anyone.


9 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2018 at 1:27 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@BEV,

Locking up murderers with long sentences prevents them from reoffending and taking other lives.


2 people like this
Posted by PeteUv5Pw
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 24, 2018 at 3:36 pm

All vehicles should be equipped with breathalyzers so that you can’t start the vehicle if you have had anything to drink. DQNzy


9 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:36 pm

@Bev. WOW, what a fairytale world you must live in- “they made a mistake” that’s putting it lightly!! Driving knowingly drunk and impaired and then killing someone with that vehicle is not a “mistake” it’s murder! No 2nd chances, take that killer off the streets. Same goes for that hit and run coward lawyer and that police officers wife. Get them off the streets before their next victim is someone from my family!


2 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 27, 2018 at 12:08 pm

@Pete :"All vehicles should be equipped with breathalyzers so that you can’t start the vehicle if you have had anything to drink"

Absolutely not. That's taking nanny-statism way too far. There is a small percentage of the population that has a problem with drinking and driving, and usually when there is a horrible accident with fatalities like this one it turns out that the drunk driver had an established history of drunk driving arrests so there were warning signs that the driver was a danger. Put the burden on those who decide to drink and drive, not on the rest of us. Want to require the installation of a breathalyzer on a drunk driver's car - at the driver's expense, of course - after their first drunk driving arrest? Fine with me. Just leave the rest of us who don't drink and drive out of it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 28, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Doug,

If you don’t drink and drive it should not be a problem for you and your car should start every time. Alcoholism and drunk driving is a huge issue in this country. With 40,000,000 people plus illegals in our state that’s way to many people to allow anyone to drink and drive. The penalties for drunk driving in overpopulated places like California should be harsh. In Japan for the first offense you pay a huge fine, lose your license for a long period of time, and usually your employer will fire you.


Like this comment
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 28, 2018 at 6:26 pm

@Pete : “Doug, If you don’t drink and drive it should not be a problem for you and your car should start every time.”

I think that you entirely missed the point of my post.


Like this comment
Posted by Norm
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Oct 29, 2018 at 7:37 am

I actually like the idea. We already mandate cars coming into California meet fuel and environmental standards. Why not make alcohol dectection devices mandatory as well? Must get them calibrated every time we register. Would stop drinking and driving if your car won’t start.


Like this comment
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 29, 2018 at 8:17 am

@Norm :”Why not make alcohol dectection devices mandatory as well?”

Fine, you’re looking at adding $1500 to the cost of your next car for the unit including installation fees into your car’s interlock system. Oh, and also you’re looking at not just having the units calibrated every year when you register the car. Breathalyzer units have to be calibrated more frequently than that to remain accurate. Plan on taking your car in to the shop to have its breathalyzer unit recalibrated every six months or so. Also, remember to plan ahead and avoid eating pizza, pastries, or any salads with a vinegar-based dressing or using a mouthwash before you drive and you’re all set to go.


1 person likes this
Posted by jan123
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 29, 2018 at 8:36 am

@PeteUv5Pw: Ok, let's suppose we do that.

But what about other substances that also cause DUI? For example, a recent study found that accidents went up in all states that legalized pot ((Web Link).

So what now? Should there be a detector for every possible substance?


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

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