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California Briefing / Los Angeles

1-year jail term in couple's death

February 05, 2009|Andrew Blankstein

An illegal immigrant who pleaded no contest to killing an elderly couple in 1992 was sentenced Wednesday to a year in county jail and five years' probation.

Christian Lopez Herrera, 36, could have faced a maximum of six years in state prison but received the lesser sentence after agreeing to comply with the terms of his probation, set at five years by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Tomson T. Ong.

With time served and credits, authorities said he would probably serve another three months in jail. An illegal immigrant from Mexico, Herrera is expected to be deported at the conclusion of his jail sentence.

Herrera pleaded no contest last month to a single count of felony hit-and-run and two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter. The incident occurred March 22, 1992, when Herrera drove away after striking Frederick and Ezna Crescitelli and Joan Pollack as the three were crossing the street in Long Beach. The Crescitellis died as a result of the accident, and Pollack suffered serious injuries.

A week after the collision, prosecutors said, Herrera fled to Mexico. He is thought to have returned to the San Pedro area as early as 2003.

Herrera was found by Los Angeles police detectives after receiving tips from the public when a story about the unsolved case ran in a local paper.

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