Alleged 2012 Santa Clarita Street Racing Murder Could See Trial In September
A murder trial could begin two years, seven months and 28 days after Canyon Country teen Dakota Dermott died on Sand Canyon Road, a spokesman with the District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
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“(Both sides) are due in court for a pretrial conference August 21,” said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. “A trial date is tentatively set for September 8.”
Both sides are due back in court Aug. 21 for a pretrial, more than two years after the suspects’ initial arrest.
Related article: Canyon Country Men Charged With Street Racing Due Back In Court
On Jan. 10, 2012, Demott was a passenger in a Ford Mustang driven by Colt Doherty, which was traveling at a high rate of speed before Doherty crashed into an oak tree, according to officials. Thomas Vensko is accused of street racing with Doherty in the moments before the crash.
The indictment against the two teens charged in the crash that claimed Demott’s life includes three counts for Doherty: a murder charge; a gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charge; and a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Vensko, 21, is being charged with count 1, which is the murder charge, and count 4, which is vehicular manslaughter.
When Doherty, now 21, entered a curve, he lost control of the car, and a resulting crash ejected Demott from the vehicle and threw him into a fence, investigators said.
Doherty reached speeds of 100 mph before he crashed into a tree near Sand Canyon Road, according to the indictment. Demott was declared dead at the scene.
Witnesses reportedly told deputies there was at least one other vehicle involved in the crash, and Thomas Vensko was arrested because he allegedly was racing Doherty before the crash occurred, according to traffic investigator Deputy Mike Shapiro.
A series of delays in the long-running criminal case prompted the prosecutor to seek a grand jury indictment in May of this year in an effort to speed up the proceedings, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, at the time of the pair’s indictment.
The case also spurred a lawsuit against the city of Santa Clarita.
Doherty and Vensko were arrested in Aug. 8, 2012.
After a hearing in November 2012, Vensko had his bail reduced to $100,000, and then he posted it, according to court officials.
Related article: Defendant Posts Bail In Fatal Sand Canyon Crash
Doherty is still being held in lieu of $1.23 million bail at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. He has been in custody since his arrest.
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