SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Paul Walden, the man accused of a hit-and-run DUI crash in July 2012 that killed one person, injured another and killed the four dogs, will stand trial for murder.
At a hearing on Friday, the judge determined there is enough evidence to proceed with a murder trial. The trial will begin on July 17 at 8:45 a.m.READ MORE: Video Released Of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting Of Tahoe Park Resident Who Shot At Authorities
On July 16, 2012, Harison Long-Randall and his girlfriend Gemily West were walking West’s four dogs across the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Engle Road in Carmichael when a car hit them. Long-Randall was able to push West out of harm’s way, but was hit on the leg — suffering a major injury. All of the dogs were killed.
Long-Randall lost his leg in the incident, and about two weeks later while recovering in the hospital, his condition worsened and he died.
Lawyer Steve White argues that Walden had just driven back from North Carolina and was drowsy.
“In evidence of fatigue, if you’ve driven across the entire nation, you’re going to be tired,” White said.
Walden’s attorney also says according to cell phone records, his client was on his phone around the time of the crash, which could have also distracted him.
“There was a phone call at about the time of the accident. Either just before, exactly during, or just after the accident, and that’s something nobody knows at this time,” he said.READ MORE: Exclusive: Marysville Family Sends Message To Accused Wrong-Way Driver In Double Fatal Crash
White says he’s confident they can prove Walden did not intend or was negligent when he got behind the wheel that night.
“Concerning establishing that it was an accident, I think high,” the attorney said.
However, Walden has multiple previous DUI convictions, which is why Long-Randall’s father believes he should be held responsible for his actions that killed his son.
“Anytime you lose a child, it’s just a horrific thing to have happen,” said Chris Randall.
The prosecution believes Walden was on the hunt for heroin during the time of the accident.
A California Highway Patrol officer said in court they spoke to one of Walden’s heroin friends, who said Walden called him that night “looking for stuff.”
Walden was arrested a few days after the crash as he left his mother’s home in North Highlands. He was charged with driving under the influence and hit-and-run.MORE NEWS: Roseville Taqueria Nixtaco Gains National Attention
Walden’s trial is set to begin in July. He will remain behind bars until then.