Jury deadlocks in hit-and-run trial in death of UC San Diego student
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 02/20/19 - 03:08 PM | 2450 views | 1 1 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
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After four hours of deliberations, a jury told a judge on Feb. 19 they were split 6-6 and could not reach a verdict in the hit and run trial of a driver who is accused of killing a UC San Diego student and leaving the scene.

A mistrial was declared in the case of Corundolus Toussaint, 39, who is accused of killing Andres Perkins, 21, after San Diego Superior Court Judge Paula Rosenstein asked jurors if anyone felt a verdict could be reached.

One juror said he thought a verdict was possible if the jury received additional instructions, but 11 other jurors said it was hopeless. The seven man, five woman jury began deliberations Tuesday morning after hearing closing arguments, but they were discharged around 5 p.m. after they said they could not reach a verdict.

Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy said Toussaint would face a retrial. Rosenstein ordered Toussaint to return to court on Feb. 25 for scheduling a retrial. He remains in jail on $140,000 bail.

His attorney, Manuel Avitia III, unsuccessfully asked Rosenstein to dismiss the case after he said a second jury might also not be able to reach a verdict.

Reedy said the jury's first note came within 10 minutes after they started deliberating and they wanted to know what type of sentence he would face if he was convicted of hit and run resulting in death.

Rosenstein repeated her instructions that jurors are not supposed to consider what the penalty is for a crime.

Toussaint picked up a woman in Mission Beach around 2:15 a.m. and the two of them were going to go to a hotel. He was apparently distracted, and struck Perkins on Interstate 5 at 2:43 a.m. as he approached the Old Town exit.

Perkins was killed almost instantly, and Toussaint kept driving until he reached a Shell service station a 2521 Pacific Highway. He left the damaged, blood stained Honda Accord at the station. The front license plate was found on Interstate 5, and the vehicle was registered to Toussaint's girlfriend.

"I had reasonable doubt about his state of mind," said one juror afterwards who said she voted for acquittal.

"Certainly for the first hour (after the accident), he was not in his right mind," said the juror.

Toussaint testified he was in a haze and needed an insulin shot as he had diabetes. He turned himself into the California Highway Patrol two days later.

"I saw a lot of holes in his story," said the jury foreman, who said he voted for conviction.

"He may have been in shock initially," said a third juror who said he voted for conviction. "(Later) he knew what was going on and made a decision to start drinking."

Reedy told jurors that Toussaint claimed to have received an insulin shot in downtown San Diego after the accident, and his cellphone records shows he made 202 phone calls after the incident and before turning himself in.

Reedy said Toussaint "left him there" in the roadway like "a piece of furniture." She said if Toussaint was able to call others, he could have called police to report what happened.

Avitia told jurors the incident occurred "in the blink of an eye," and when Perkins was hit, the windshield exploded, leaving "glass all over the place." He said Toussaint was in shock from the traumatic event, and left him disoriented as to what to do.

The trial was short as opening statements and testimony started Feb. 14.

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Robert Burns
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February 21, 2019
This sad case touches upon several issues: (1) the reluctance of juries to punish harshly irresponsible driving resulting in unintended death, (2) the sorry state of criminal justice which allows unconstitutional double jeopardy by retrying a case lost (a 6-6 tie vote is a loss by any thinking person's observation), (3) the irresponsibility of the dead idiot to be walking along the freeway, and (4) the despicable state of mental health care (I presume that the decedent was severely mentally incapacitated).
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