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Jury in La Cañada fatal truck crash deadlocks on lesser charges

Judge orders panel to continue deliberating in murder case against driver whose runaway big rig killed a man and his daughter in 2009.

July 29, 2011|By Jason Wells and Daniel Siegal, Los Angeles Times
  • Marcos Acosta listens to court-appointed interpreter Teresa Krakow as she explains why the jury was sent back for more deliberations at his trial in Pasadena.
Marcos Acosta listens to court-appointed interpreter Teresa Krakow as… (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

The jury in the murder trial of the driver of a runaway big rig that killed a 12-year-old girl and her father two years ago in La Cañada Flintridge reported Thursday that it had reached verdicts on the two counts of second-degree murder but was deadlocked on the lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sent the jury back to deliberate on the involuntary manslaughter charges against the driver, Marcos Costa, 46.

The verdicts on the second-degree murder charges were not announced.

The courtroom in Pasadena was packed with supporters of Costa and of family and friends of the victims, Palmdale residents Angel Posca, 58, and his daughter, Angelina.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolina Lugo had argued that Costa acted with willful disregard for human life as he proceeded down Angeles Crest Highway and the truck's brakes went out, sending the vehicle barreling through Foothill Boulevard, striking several cars and crashing into a bookstore.

Costa's defense had portrayed the crash as an accident, one that Costa tried to steer out of despite losing control of the big rig.

The partial verdicts marked the beginning of the end of a long chapter in which Costa was forced to accept professional legal help after a failed attempt to represent himself at trial. Testimony in the weeks-long proceedings included the scientific and the emotional as witnesses recalled the events of the violent crash.

One of them, Melissa Watkins, the bookstore's inventory manager at the time, testified that she and Costa locked eyes for a moment as the 25-ton truck barreled toward the store.

"I saw the horror on his face," she said. "His eyes were bulging out of his head."

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