SAN JOSE (KCBS)— There was a dramatic courtroom outburst at the end of a Wednesday afternoon arraignment for one of the two suspects in the death of a woman killed in a suspected street race in San Jose on Monday.
Manuel Maldonado-Avalos, 23, was arraigned on a charge of felony, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of Kiran Pabla. A second suspect, Gabriel Esparza is already out on $100,000 bail.
More than a dozen family members of the victim were in court. Once the arraignment was complete, they could be heard saying, “He killed our sister. She’s our baby”, which escalated to the family members grieving by yelling profanities in the heat of the moment.
Outside the courtroom a woman said “We need justice,” in frustration. Samir Mohan, an uncle of the victim, said he was upset that Esparza was already out on bail.
“We just want justice. The only reason we came in [is] because we know judges here give a slap on these people’s hands by saying it was just a traffic accident. It was not just a traffic accident. It was not just speeding. It was killing. Somebody was murdered.”
My Phuong Truong, the prosecutor in the case, said both suspects face a maximum sentence of six years.
“What this incidence highlights is that street racing is incredibly dangerous and emphasizes the importance of safe driving and we share and understand the family’s sadness over this. It’s incredibly tragic. Our heartfelt condolences goes out to them.”
She added that the charges are appropriate for the conduct they have evidence of.
The next court appearance in this case is scheduled March 9th.