A state appeals court panel Thursday upheld a man’s conviction on second-degree murder stemming from a crash in South Los Angeles that killed a ride-hailing driver and seriously injured her passenger.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the trial court improperly limited argument and excluded certain evidence of Kevin Moran’s intoxication at the time of the Jan. 14, 2017, crash that killed Folesha Parker-Iverson, 52, and seriously injured her passenger, Terrance Fitch.
“Because intoxication may increase an individual’s recklessness, the court properly admitted evidence of Moran’s voluntary intoxication to establish he acted with conscious disregard for the risk his drinking and driving would pose to human life,” the panel noted in its nine-page ruling.
The justices found that the trial court “correctly refused to instruct the jury on the related offense of gross vehicular manslaughter.”
The Los Angeles man — who is serving a 15-year-to-life state prison term — was convicted in March 2018 of one count each of second-degree murder, hit-and-run driving resulting in death to another person and hit-and-run driving resulting in injury to another person.
In her opening statement during the trial, Deputy District Attorney Leslie Hinshaw told jurors that they would hear expert testimony that Moran was traveling at an estimated 51 mph in the 35 mph zone as he went into the intersection. She cited Moran’s “complete and conscious disregard for human life,” telling jurors that he was “speeding” and “weaving in and out” before the deadly crash at the intersection of Arlington Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Mike Richardson testified that he was called to the intersection about 3:30 a.m. the day of the crash and that firefighters were unable to get Parker-Iverson out of her blue Honda Accord after the crash and pronounced her dead at the scene. She was subsequently extracted from the car after a representative from the coroner’s office arrived, he said.
Her passenger, Fitch, told jurors that he spent six months immobilized and recently got out of a neck brace.
“I had to teach myself to walk all over again,” he said.
Fitch testified that he moved in with his grandfather at a handicap-accessible home and that “we were moving at the same speed.”
Moran was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Traffic Division hours after the crash, and has remained behind bars since then.
At Moran’s May 2018 sentencing, Parker-Iverson’s sister, Sharon Luke, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe she remembered their last conversation was about planning a weekend getaway to Nevada, saying they missed each other and would see each other the next day.
“That was a tomorrow that never came,” Luke said. “There’s never a day that I don’t miss her.”
One of the victim’s daughters, Chales Parker, said that she was still in denial about what happened to her mother.
She told Moran that he would have loved her mother if he had known her.
“I know she would have changed your life for the better,” the young woman told the defendant.