VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A Glendale man pleaded not guilty Monday morning to charges stemming from the August electrocution deaths of two good Samaritans in Valley Village.
Arman Samsonian, 19, pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter in a Van Nuys court room.
Prosecutors say he was speeding on the evening of Aug. 22 when his SUV sheared off a fire hydrant and slammed into a power pole on Magnolia Boulevard.
Irma Zamora, 40, and Stacey Schreiber, 39, were electrocuted when they touched the water while trying to help Samsonian.
The driver and his family stood outside the courthouse after the arraignment while his attorney, Andrew Flier, discussed the charges.
“And that’s what’s so tragic about this: unexpected. And my young client here got electrocuted, himself. He was hurt,” Flier said.
Flier said there were a series of unseen, independent acts that led to the deaths of Zamora and Schreiber.
“He seems very remorseful, but, since day one, we still don’t think he committed this type of crime,” Flier said.
Prosecutors need to “be able to argue that there’s a close enough connection between whatever this young man did behind the wheel of the car and these two women ending up dead, that you can say there’s a legal nexus, that there’s a cause and effect,” CBS2/KCAL9 legal analyst Steve Meister said.
The 19-year-old is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 19. He faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted.
Samsonian is currently free on bail.