SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A woman suspected of driving through a Cupertino park on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring another, was denied bail during her arraignment hearing Friday afternoon in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Mireya Orta, 50, of Santa Clara, was charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office with three felonies, including murder with the enhancement of using a car as a deadly weapon, premeditated attempted murder and resisting arrest.
On Tuesday at 12:45 p.m., Santa Clara County Sheriff’s investigators said Orta drove her Audi A5 to Rancho San Antonio Park and ran over a 77-year-old man. According to the Mercury News, Orta reversed back and forth over the victim’s body several times, then tried to run over a second man who hid behind a tree.
Orta also allegedly rammed a sheriff’s patrol vehicle after officers tried to stop her vehicle.
If convicted, she faces 33 years to life in prison. She is being held in the Santa Clara County main jail. Orta’s next hearing will be 9 a.m. Nov. 7, with presiding Judge Ronald Toff, Department 37.
Orta was having issues, according to her next-door neighbor.
“She was a nice neighbor, she started to have problems and people tried to talk to her, her family really tried,” said Celeste Kunkel.
On Friday, the Santa Clara County Coroner’s office released the identity of the victim who died as Lawrence Lupash. His neighbors knew him as Larry.
“To learn it was Larry, yeah, it is definitely shocking because it’s someone we see once in awhile,” said Jean Pierre Martin.
Orta faced a judge on Friday and, while she didn’t say a word, tears could be seen running down her face.
“This was a senseless tragedy,” said deputy district attorney Alaleh Kianerci.
Lupash’s neighbors said he lived alone and didn’t have much family. He would walk San Antonio Park to get exercise after suffering from health issues, they said.
“We were shocked,” said Jewel Savadelis.
Kunkel said she knew that Orta had been dealing with problems but exactly what those troubles were are unknown. Still, Kunkel said she didn’t think it would lead to Orta being accused of murder.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kunkel. “I’m upset, you know, I think of her and I think she’s never going to be free ever.”
The judge denied Orta bail.
She’s expected back in court in November.
Her counsel, Charles Hendrickson of the county’s public defender office, offered no comment following Orta’s hearing Friday.
“The Santa Clara County [District Attorney’s] Office will ensure that Ms. Orta is held accountable to the full extent of the law,” prosecuting attorney Alaleh Kianerci told reporters Friday.
“We will ensure that the victim’s family will receive justice in this case.”
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