Crime & Justice

Couple sentenced in fatal hit-and-run of USC student

A husband and wife were sentenced today to seven and eight years in prison, respectively, for a hit-and-run crash that killed a USC student and seriously injured another, whose body was yanked from the couple's car and left on the side of the road.

Updated 1:51 p.m.

Claudia Cabrera, 31, and Josue Luna, 34, pleaded no contest to various charges stemming from the March 29, 2009 crash that killed 18-year-old Adrianna Bachan and injured Marcus Garfinkle, then 19.

Cabrera and Luna both apologized during the emotional sentencing hearing, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry rejected a defense request that the couple serve less prison time.

"The actions of the defendants on March 29th of 2009 were outrageous and shocking," Perry said.

Cabrera was driving the Infiniti that had just run a red light before striking the students as they crossed Jefferson Boulevard at Hoover Street just before 3 a.m., police said. Cabrera and Luna had their 7-month-old son in the back seat.

After Cabrera struck the pair, Luna got out of the car, pulled Garfinkle's body off the hood, and the two drove off, police said

Cabrera was arrested April 2, 2009 after $235,000 in reward money was posted, and Bachan's mother, Carmen, made a series of televised emotional pleas seeking the public's help in capturing the suspects.

Luna was arrested about two weeks later 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.

Cabrera pleaded no contest March 11 to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter and a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident. Luna pleaded no contest to a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident.

During the hearing, Carmen Bachan said Cabrera and Luna "have destroyed our lives" and accused them of killing "one of the happiest and most promising young women, my daughter."

"I lost my baby, but I guarantee you society lost a star," she said through tears.

Garfinkle also wept as he described what happened to him that night.

"And I will never forget waking up on the side of the street covered in blood, naked, with my muscles out of my entire – all my muscles out of my body," he said. "All my bones out of my legs and my stomach was smashed open, gushing blood."