Re: [messengers] Santa Cruz fatal hit-and-run defendant pleads not guilty

Date: 23 Jun 2011 01:13:58 +0200
From: Fhar Miess <fhartha@xxxxxxxxx>


And I just discovered that the father of a former co-worker of mine (at a messenger collective) is acting as the attorney for this schmuck (no offense to all you schmucks out there).  She says that she thought he wasn't even trying cases anymore.  If he came out of "retirement" to defend this kid, that's just sad.  Santa Cruz is an effed-up place.  Solidarity is harder to find there all the time, least of all among cyclists, from what I can tell.  Glad I got out of there.

I do hope friends of Zack will be able to get their side of the story out, but, knowing that paper, I doubt it will happen in that venue.

Fhar

On Jun 22, 2011, at 3:47 PM, Kevin Stewart wrote:

> Wait, "He's very remorseful. He feels horrible," but is pleading NOT
> guilty??!! What? How is this possible?
> 
> Oh and he " rode mountain bike trails at the Forest of Nisene Marks
> State Park." What ever happened to solidarity between cyclists? Now
> you can just run them down, and feel bad about it, but plead not
> guilty... wow.
> 
> 
> Friends of Zachary, I'm sorry for your loss,  I hope you all plan on
> filling the courtroom and making statements as well so the next story
> can show the victims side, instead of the person who committed the
> crime.
> 
> -stewy
> 
> 
> On Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 9:05 PM, Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Santa Cruz
>> fatal hit-and-run defendant pleads not guilty
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> By Stephen Baxter
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Santa Cruz
>> Sentinel, June 21, 2011
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> SANTA CRUZ
>> - Elliott Dess, the 21-year-old driver accused of hitting cyclist Zachary Parke
>> on Empire Grade Road on June 8, pleaded not guilty today to charges that
>> included felony vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Dess appeared in court in orange jail clothes, shackled,
>> head bowed, and Judge Paul Burdick kept Dess' bail set at $100,000. He posted
>> bail Tuesday afternoon. Dess waived his right to speedy trial and is due back
>> in court July 18.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Gerald Christensen, Dess' attorney, said Dess had no
>> criminal record and did not pose a flight risk because he has always lived in Santa Cruz and has family
>> and friends here. More than 25 friends and family appeared in court to support
>> him.
>> 
>> Dess also was charged with a special allegation of leaving
>> the scene of a fatal crime. He faces more than 10 years in prison if found
>> guilty.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> "I know there's been community outrage," said
>> Christensen.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Outside court Christensen said he was disappointed with the
>> judge's decision not to lower the bail amount or release Dess on his own
>> recognizance.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> "My client will most certainly appear (in court). He's
>> generally a decent young guy," Christensen said. "He will face up to
>> this tragic situation."
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Dess, who has shaved blond hair, stood still with his head
>> down gazing at the floor for much of the hearing.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Prosecutor Jason Gill argued against Dess' release, offering
>> new details in the prosecution's sequence of events after the crash.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Just after midnight on June 8, Dess drove a 1998 Nissan
>> Maxima south on Empire Grade Road and collided with Zachary Parke, who was
>> cycling downhill from a friend's home at UC Santa Cruz, the CHP reported.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Gill said in court that Dess did not stop at the crash
>> scene, and there was no evidence of skid marks on the road. Gill said Dess
>> "had the opportunity to do the right thing and call 911" to try to
>> save Parke's life.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Instead, Gill said, Dess pulled over near the UCSC Arboretum
>> on Empire Grade
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Gill said Dess then left his mangled car parked on the
>> Westside of Santa Cruz in an attempt to "conceal and abandon it."
>> 
>> The car was impounded that day, and authorities contacted
>> Dess about 16 to 18 hours after the crash, Gill said. At that point, Dess lied
>> to investigators and said he was driving on Highway 1 and hit a deer, Gill
>> said.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> "Instead of doing the responsible thing, he flees the
>> scene, conceals evidence and lies to police," Gill said in court.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Zachary Parke's body was found by a passing cyclist about 8
>> a.m. the day of the crash.
>> 
>> April Parke, Zachary Parke's mother, cried through parts of
>> the hearing.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Elizabeth Parke, Zachary's 32-year-old sister, abruptly left
>> the courtroom at one point but returned. In an uncommon legal move, April Parke
>> made a statement to Judge Burdick before his ruling on Dess's bail.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> "I heard the (defense) lawyer say (Dess) was a caring
>> man. I find that hard to believe.
>> 
>> How can a caring person hit someone and leave him on the
>> side of the road for eight hours?" April Parke asked.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Dess' friends and family said Dess is a decent person who
>> made a big mistake and panicked.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> "He's very remorseful. He feels horrible," Ruth
>> Garland, a friend of the Dess family who also knew Zachary Parke, 25, from rock
>> climbing activities, said after court.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> "It was a horrible tragedy. Elliott panicked," Garland said.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Garland
>> said Dess and Zachary Parke did not know each other. She said the crash has
>> been doubly painful for her because of her ties to the victim and suspect.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> "It's been the worst thing I've had to deal with in my
>> life," Garland
>> said.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Dess's father declined to comment outside court.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Jasper Garland,
>> 20, said Dess is his best friend.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Outside court, he described Dess as a moral and caring
>> person.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Dess attended Santa
>>  Cruz Community School, an alternative school for
>> adolescent males in grades 7 to 10. He was working at an auto parts warehouse.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Jasper Garland
>> said he and Dess often played Frisbee golf in their spare time. They worked on
>> cars and rode mountain bike trails at the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.
>> 
>> "I pray that whenever he gets out, he stays the same
>> person so I can hang out with him," Jasper Garland said.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
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