But attorney Rich Hutton, who represents Jason Riley King, said he is not guilty of second-degree murder in the deaths of Anne Baldock, 24 and Madison Cornwell, 23.
“We agree the driver Jason King was the sole cause of the crash,” said Hutton to jurors.
Hutton also said King was also guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol causing serious injury to three people who survived the crash in the car Cornwell was driving on May 15, 2015, on state Route 163 north of Interstate 8.
The sole issue for the jury to decide is whether King caused two murders, said Hutton. “It is a manslaughter (case),” he concluded.
Hutton told the nine men, three women on the jury and San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Weber that making that opening statement conceding guilt on some charges was the most unusual way he has ever opened a case.
Baldock is from La Jolla and Cornwell is from Mission Viejo. Three UC San Diego medical students who survived the crash also testified Tuesday.
Yuki Iizuka, from La Jolla, was comatose for a month at UC San Diego Medical Center. Along with Iizuka, Stosh Ozog and Jared Molitoris described their injuries. All of them have resumed their studies after some absences.
Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright told the jury King struck the Toyota Prius with the UC San Diego students head-on at 1:40 a.m. She said the female students were “killed instantly.”
“He knew the dangers of drinking and driving. He does it anyway,” said Bright.
She said King, now 24 and a former U.S. Marine, was partying with other Marines at a Mission Beach hotel. Bright said his friends tried to tell him he should not be driving, but “he left anyway.”
Bright said King drove to a bar known as In Cahoots in Mission Valley in his Ford F-350 truck that he had owned for just a week. King was with a female friend.
“While he was playing pool, he continued to drink. She knew what he was like when he drinks,” said Bright, referring to his friend.
The prosecutor said the manager kicked King out when he begun to slump over. According to previous testimony, his friend tried to grab his keys from him, but he got into his truck and drove off.
Bright said his blood/alcohol level was .14 when it was taken 1 ½ hours after the crash. The felony limit for drunk driving is .08.
James Neuearth, a motorist from Pacific Beach, testified he went to aid King in his truck, which had turned over and was on its side. Neuearth said he noticed King still had his seat belt on and heard him “mumble something” before firefighters cut portions of the truck so he could be taken to a hospital.
Dr. Jay Doucet, a UCSD Medical Center surgeon, testified King spent four days in intensive care and was in significant pain due to neck fractures. He had to wear a medical jacket with aluminum bars to hold his head in place at least six weeks.
Captain Jay Harris, a paramedic, testified firefighters had to remove the truck windshield in order to get King out of the crumpled truck.
Family members of the victim as well as relatives of King attended the trial, which will continue for another 10 days.
King, who was dressed in a suit, remains in jail on $3 million bail. He has pleaded not guilty.