LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A man who was despondent over losing his job and drove recklessly along Pacific Coast Highway, crashing his car and killing a 13-year-old Malibu girl, was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison.
Sina Khankhanian was convicted May 17 of second-degree murder for the 2010 death of Emily Rose Shane. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader rejected a defense bid for a new trial before handing down the sentence.
Khankhanian was convicted in his second trial. Another jury in January failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the case, prompting a mistrial.
Prosecutors said Khankhanian was suicidal over the loss of his job on April 3, 2010, and drove his Mitsubishi Lancer recklessly for 17 miles along Topanga Canyon Boulevard and then north on Pacific Coast Highway at speeds up to 70 mph. He crashed the vehicle near Heathercliff Road, killing the girl, who was walking along the street.
Defense attorney Bradley Brunon argued that Khankhanian was not guilty of murder, saying that at most he was guilty of vehicular manslaughter — an offense he said the prosecution refused to charge. Brunon also said Khankhanian has “a long history of autism.”
“I think the jury’s verdict compounds the tragedy,” Brunon said after the verdict. “I don’t think the evidence showed he intended to kill her.”
Brunon said his client was “going somewhat over the speed limit” and “lost control of the vehicle,” which struck the teen.
“This wasn’t a suicide attempt,” Brunon said.
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