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Men identified as street racers headed for trial

Posted: May 20, 2013 4:36 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2013 4:36 p.m.
 

Two men identified as street racers charged with murder in connection with a fatal crash that claimed the life of their friend a year ago are going straight to trial without a preliminary hearing following a grand jury indictment in the case, a spokeswoman for prosecutors said.

On Wednesday, Colt Sean Doherty, 19, and Thomas Joseph Vensko, 20, both of Canyon Country, pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the grand jury indictment, Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Monday.

The pair was scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Tuesday but the indictment rules out the need for a preliminary hearing, she said.

The indictment was unsealed last week, she said.
Doherty and Vensko were arraigned on the indictment’s charges and assigned a new case number.  The charges, however, remain the same.

Prosecutors are expected to ask the judge to dismiss the old case as they press forward with the new one, Robison said.

They are scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing Tuesday.
Doherty and Vensko, both of Canyon Country, are charged on suspicion of second-degree murder in the death of Dakota DeMott, 19, also of Canyon Country.

DeMott died Jan. 10, 2012, when the Ford Mustang in which he was riding slammed into a tree on Sand Canyon Road at Alamo Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Doherty is believed to be the driver of that car.

In August, prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office identified Doherty and Vensko as “street racers” when they charged them with second-degree murder.

Doherty, who remains in custody with bail set at $1 million, is also charged with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing injury.

Vensko, who was released from custody in November after posting $100,000 bail, is also charged with vehicular manslaughter.

In January, a preliminary hearing expected to involve four days of testimony was scheduled for two men but was delayed at least twice since then for various reasons.

During that hearing, prosecutors would have presented evidence in the case, and the defense would have been able to respond, after which the judge would have decided if the case should go to trial.

The grand jury indictment revealed last week, however, rules out the need for such a hearing.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt



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