Defendants plead not guilty in hit-and-run that killed USC student

A husband and wife pleaded no contest today to charges stemming from a hit-and-run crash that killed a USC student and seriously injured another, who was pulled off the hood of the car that hit the pair before the culprits left the scene.

Claudia Cabrera, who was driving the Infiniti that struck the students, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident. Her husband, 33-year-old Josue Luna, who was a passenger in the car, pleaded no contest to a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident.

They admitted causing the March 29, 2009, crash that killed 18-year-old Adrianna Bachan and seriously injured Marcus Garfinkle, then 19.

The crash took place as Bachan and Garfinkle, who was walking her home, crossed Jefferson Boulevard at Hoover Street just before 3 a.m. Police said Cabrera, now 31, ran a red light before hitting the students.

Police said the car stopped briefly, and Luna pulled the Garfinkle from the car's damaged windshield and set his body on the ground before Cabrera drove off. The couple's 7-month-old son was in the back seat of the car at the time.

Cabrera faces up to eight years in prison and Luna could get up to seven years when the couple are sentenced May 24.

Cabrera's sister, Jennifer, testified during a preliminary hearing that in the hours before the crash, the defendants had been at a party in the San Fernando Valley, where they "ordered margaritas and beer" and later got into a heated argument over comments made about the Kardashian sisters, stars of a television reality show.

Cabrera was arrested April 2, after $235,000 in reward money was posted and Bachan's mother made a series of televised emotional pleas seeking the public's help in capturing the suspects.

Luna was arrested April 18 in San Ysidro while crossing back into the United States from Mexico.

Investigators serving a search warrant on the couple's home found broken glass in the garage and tarps speckled with blood, Los Angeles police Detective Sandra Smith testified.

Shortly after his arrest, Luna told NBC4 that he did not believe his wife had run a red light. He said they initially believed that the couple's car had hit another vehicle. He also admitted taking Garfinkle's body off of the Infiniti, but believed crews at a nearby fire station would be able to help him.

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