Jury Deadlocks on Former Marine's Murder Charge in DUI Crash

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A former-Camp Pendleton Marine who was on probation for drunken driving when he slammed into a motorcyclist in a fatal wrong-way crash was found guilty Thursday of gross vehicular manslaughter.

But jurors deadlocked as to the more serious charge of second-degree murder, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial on that count.

The Vista Superior Court jury deliberated for about a day before reaching the partial verdict in the case against Adam Barooshian, who was 25 years old at the time of the New Year's Day 2019 crash that killed 29-year-old Christopher Williams.

Just before noon Thursday, the panel found Barooshian guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He was also found guilty of two drunken driving charges.

The jurors said they were unable to reach a verdict as to second-degree murder, and Superior Court Judge Brad Weinreb told them to keep deliberating. By that time, the jury had already submitted two notes asking for clarification regarding the concept of "implied malice," which is an element of second-degree murder.

By the end of the day, the jurors said they had reached an impasse, and Weinreb declared a mistrial. The defendant is due back in court April 21. Prosecutors may decide to retry him on the murder charge.

At the time of the crash, Barooshian was on probation for drunken driving. Weeks before the fatal crash, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge for a September 2018 arrest in San Diego. That conviction prompted prosecutors to bring the second-degree murder charge.

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of 15 to life.

Barooshian has been in custody without bail since his arrest. The Union-Tribune was unable to locate his defense attorney for comment.

About 4 a.m. on Jan. 1, Williams was headed home from work as part of the Security-EMT unit at Casino Pauma when he was struck and killed on state Route 76 in Fallbrook.

According to Deputy District Attorney David Uyar, Barooshian was headed the wrong way down the highway near Via Monserate, driving east in the westbound lanes when his Lexus IS 300 slammed head-on into Williams' motorcycle.

Williams, who was married to an Oceanside 911 dispatcher, died at the scene. The couple had two young sons ages 5 and 8 when their father died.

When Barooshian was charged, Uyar said the defendant reportedly smelled of alcohol, had red, watery eyes, and was slurring his words right after the crash.

Uyar said Barooshian's blood alcohol content was .18 percent about five hours after the crash. Drivers in California are considered impaired if their blood-alcohol content measures .08 percent or more.

Barooshian received an other-than-honorable discharge from military little more than a week after the crash, according to the Marine Corps.

This article is written by Teri Figueroa from The San Diego Union-Tribune and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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