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Prosecutors wrap up case against Newhall woman charged with murder

Posted: May 21, 2013 6:16 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2013 6:16 p.m.
 

Arizona prosecutors have wrapped up their case against a Newhall woman charged with two counts of second-degree murder for allegedly killing two children with her car near the Arizona state line in 2011, a court official said.

The trial against Rebecca Loya, 59, which is expected to last three weeks, began May 14 with jury selection in La Paz County Superior Court in Parker, Ariz.

On Tuesday, La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers finished presenting his case against her, the court official said Tuesday.

Since Thursday, when he delivered his opening arguments in the case, jurors have submitted at least 16 questions to the judge, court records show.

Loya, who was released on bail, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder with extreme indifference and two counts of aggravated assault — one for serious injury and the other for the use of a dangerous instrument, specifically her vehicle.

According to Arizona law, an unintentional death may constitute murder when the conduct of the defendant manifests “extreme indifference” to the value of human life.

Loya also faces one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or vapors and one count of extreme impaired driving having had a blood-alcohol level of .15 or more.

On Aug. 15, 2011, shortly after 4:30 p.m., law enforcement officers from both Arizona and California responded to a two-vehicle traffic collision on Interstate 10 near the California-Arizona state line.

The crash involved a red Nissan minivan and silver Toyota SUV.

Prosecutors allege Loya had almost reached the state line near Blythe when the collision occurred.

Two children, passengers in the minivan, died in the crash — one at the scene and the other a short time later at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The minivan’s driver, identified as Nancy Faustino, then 66, was flown to Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs and was admitted with serious injuries, according to Arizona media reports at the time.

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

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