Verdict reached in deadly Tierrasanta hit-and-run trial case - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Verdict reached in deadly Tierrasanta hit-and-run trial case

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A motorist should be convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence because she was texting when she drove onto a sidewalk in Tierrasanta and hit two girls, fatally injuring one of them, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

A defense attorney countered that Julianne Little fell asleep at the wheel just before 6 p.m. on Feb. 20, and her actions represented only ordinary negligence.

Little, 31, faces the manslaughter charge and hit-and-run causing serious injury in the death of 10-year-old Raquel Rosete, whose 12-year-old friend suffered a broken ankle and a concussion in the accident.

"She (Little) knew she hit those little girls while she was driving distracted," Deputy District Attorney Melissa Vasel said in her closing argument.

Vasel said a number of people stopped to render aid after the collision, but Little drove to her home about two miles away.

"She had a ton of opportunities to stop," Vasel said of the defendant. "She provided zip, zilch, nothing. These little girls did nothing wrong."

Little testified that she didn't know she hit someone, but Vasel told the jury that she had to know because Raquel's body was right in front of her on the windshield when she struck the child.

Vasel said Little couldn't wait to text a man named Rodney after he ignored 18 text messages from her the night before.

Little told police that didn't use her phone after sending a text from the parking lot after getting off work.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Charles Quirk told the jury that Little was tired and fell asleep while driving home. Once there, she told her father that she had been in an accident and they returned to the scene.

Little thought she had hit a car, Quirk told the jury.

"These are actions of a person who did not know she hit two little girls," her attorney said.

The prosecution was not able to prove whether Little was texting or had just finished texting at the time of the accident, Quirk said.

"It's an accident," Quirk told the jury. "She wasn't texting while driving."

The defendant submitted to a blood test which turned up negative for alcohol and drugs, Quirk said.

Navy Capt. Brian Shipman testified that he was driving north on Santo Road near Shields Street when he saw bobbing headlights in his rear-view mirror and a car re-entering the roadway from the sidewalk.

Shipman said Little pulled up next to his car at a stop light and he got behind her and jotted down her license plate number.

He said he went to a shopping center to pick up dinner, but immediately turned around and drove back to where he saw Little's car leave the roadway.

Shipman said he saw a runner, Amanda Procter, tending to a 12-year-old girl named Mekayla and gave a 911 operator a description of Little's Toyota Corolla.

Mekayla testified that she doesn't remember what happened that night.

Raquel was discovered 48 feet away by another passing motorist. The child -- who suffered a broken spine and a traumatic brain injury -- was placed on life support and died three days later.

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