An ex-con who killed two young men in a DUI crash in Hemet pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder charges.
Faalele Rosemarie Patea, 27, of Moreno Valley admitted the two felony counts, as well as sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegations, during a status hearing at the Banning Justice Center.
No charges were dismissed under the plea agreement, which Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst is expected to certify during Patea’s July 8 sentencing hearing. The defendant, who is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, is facing 30 years to life in state prison.
Patea was prosecuted for the May 1, 2019, deaths of Beaumont residents Joshua Serquina and Kyle Towai, both 22.
According to Hemet police Sgt. Dan Reinbolt, the victims’ Honda Civic was slowing for a red traffic signal on Florida Avenue at Warren Road when Patea approached from behind, traveling 100 mph in her Volkswagen Jetta, about 9 p.m. Reinbolt said the driver never slowed down, rear-ending the Honda and pushing it into another car.
Serquina and Towai were taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where Serquina was pronounced dead on arrival. Towai survived on life support for two days before he succumbed to his injuries.
The parties in the third vehicle were not hurt, nor was Patea.
Reinbolt said a field sobriety test conducted at the scene of the wreck confirmed the defendant was under the influence.
According to court records, she has prior convictions for domestic violence and assault resulting in great bodily injury.