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Canyon Country Men Due Back In Court On Racing Death Charges

Perry Smith/ Leon Worden SCVNEWS.COM

UPDATED 1/22/13 3:10 p.m.
Two men charged with murder in the death of a Canyon Country man are due back in court next month, officials said Tuesday.

Colt Doherty and Thomas Vensko, who are both facing murder charges in the death of Dakota Demott, will be back in court on Feb. 21 for another preliminary hearing date.

ORIGINAL STORY 12/14/13 11:06 a.m.
The suspects pleaded not guilty in December, after they were accused of street racing in the fatal crash that killed Dakota Demott, said a District Attorney's Office spokeswoman.

Doherty, 20, who was driving the car in which Demott was a passenger, and Vensko, 20, is being charged with contributing to the cause of the crash, a second degree murder charge.

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"Both defendants entered a not guilty plea, and they will be back in court on Jan. 22," according to an official of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

One defendant made bail and both suspects will re-appear in court Dec. 14 for an arraignment in the death of Dakota Demott, who died in an alcohol-related car crash on Sand Canyon Road on Jan. 10. At a hearing last month, Vensko had his bail reduced to $100,000, and then he posted it, according to court officials.

Doherty is still being held on $1 million bail, according to Sheriff’s Department officials.

On the night of Jan. 10, Demott and Doherty were traveling in a Ford Mustang at a high rate of speed on Sand Canyon Road.

When Doherty entered a curve, he lost control of the car and collided with a large oak tree, the impact of which ejected Demott from the vehicle and threw him into a fence. Demott was declared dead at the scene.

Witnesses had told deputies that there were other vehicles involved in the crash. According to traffic investigator Deputy Mike Shapiro, Vensko was arrested because he was racing Doherty before the crash occurred.

“Even though he didn’t cause the death directly, because he was street racing, he faces the same penalty as the driver,” Shapiro explained.

Vensko had two passengers in the car with him, but they are not being charged.