A California man who crashed into a car of six teenagers after they pranked his doorbell in 2020 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday after his conviction on murder charges, they said. said the officials.
The man, Anurag Chandra, was found guilty in April of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in the Riverside County, California, incident. The Riverside County District Attorney’s office argued that the crash, which killed the three-year-old, was intentional.
At Judge Valerie Navarro’s sentencing, Craig Hawkins, the father of one of the victims, Daniel Hawkins, described the intense grief he has felt since his son’s death.
« Every day we feel the absence of this young man, » the elderly Mr. Hawkins said of his son in court, according to a Press release by prosecutors. « The hole in our hearts and lives for the taking of our son’s life is staggering. »
Michael A. Hestrin, the Riverside County District Attorney, said in a statement that « the lives of countless families will never be the same because of one man’s anger, insensitivity and outrageous conduct, and I am grateful to the Judge Navarro for imposing the maximum sentence in this case. »
David Wohl, a solicitor for Mr Chandra, said he and his client were « disappointed » with the conviction and the sentence. He said he intended to appeal the verdict.
« While we believe some sort of manslaughter conviction would have been appropriate, a murder conviction in these circumstances was simply incorrect, » Wohl said.
On the night of Sunday January 19, 2020, one of the teenagers had the courage to play a prank at the house, the district attorney’s office said, and the six teenagers went to Mr. Chandra’s home in Corona, about 50 miles south -east of Los Angeles. .
The boy rang the bell and returned to the Prius they were traveling in, and the group left.
Mr Chandra chased them in his vehicle, increased its speed to 99 miles per hour and crashed into the rear of the Prius, « sending it off the road and into a tree, » prosecutors said. .
Mr. Chandra fled after the crash, the California Highway Patrol said, and was arrested after witnesses followed him and alerted authorities.
Three boys, Daniel Hawkins, Jacob Ivascu and Drake Ruiz, were killed, authorities said. The driver, Sergio Campusano, then 18, and two other boys, Joshua Hawkins, then 13, and Joshua Ivascu, then 14, were injured.
During the trial, Mr. Chandra testified that he feared for his family’s safety after seeing a person in a hoodie outside his home, and chased after the other car to verbally express his anger, The Press-Enterprise reports it. She also testified that she drank 12 bottles of beer the night of the crash, the newspaper said.
Lauren McCarthy contributed report.