A state appeals court panel has upheld a woman's conviction on murder charges stemming from a fiery car crash in Pomona that killed a man and his pregnant girlfriend in Pomona nearly three years ago.
The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal noted that it was undisputed that Lorraine Martinez was driving a friend's Infiniti at 130 mph and that the vehicle's event data recorder marked the car's speed at 97 mph seven seconds before the Aug. 1, 2011, collision.
"She was on a street with traffic signals and did not stop for the collision. Evidence that defendant braked just before the incident indicated she was aware of the risk of her driving. Evidence that she fled the scene afterwards shows a consciousness of guilt," the justices found in their 14- page ruling issued Monday.
Martinez was convicted last year of three counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Miguel Herrera, 22, his pregnant girlfriend, Desiree Grajeda, 17, and their unborn son, along with one count of unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle. She is serving a 47-year-to-life term in state prison.
Authorities said the Infiniti that Martinez was driving on Holt Avenue — just east of Garey Avenue — broadsided the 1995 Nissan Maxima turning left into a restaurant just before 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2011. The impact tore the car in two, causing it to strike a light pole and then burst into flames.
The Infiniti had been taken from an acquaintance of Martinez without his permission, authorities said.
Martinez had been released from jail a day earlier after pleading no contest in a misdemeanor case in which she was charged with possession of methamphetamine and exhibiting a deadly weapon — a pipe — and served two days of the 90-day county jail term to which she had been sentenced.
—City News Service