SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A family’s pain has lead to a push for change at the state capitol.
Baby RJ died just days after doctors had to perform an emergency C section on his mother, who was hit by a suspected drunk driver in Rio Linda back in April. The District Attorney’s office recently announced the driver would not face murder or vehicular manslaughter charges because of the way California law is written.
The family demonstrated outside of the District Attorney’s office Friday. They said the fact that the suspect is only facing charges related to DUI is absolutely frustrating and heartbreaking.
“We cope as well as we can,” said Latisha Strianese, the grandmother of RJ.
Family comforted Ciara Villages, RJ’s mother, as they stood outside the DA’s office Friday.
“We want our voices heard, we want recognition for my nephew’s life and we’re not going to stop until that’s done,” said Mercedes Villegas, RJ’s aunt.
It’s hard for this family to believe the man accused of driving drunk and causing so much harm could avoid serious charges.
“We obey all the laws and this man didn’t and he murdered my grandson,” Strianese said.
California law defines murder as the killing of a human being or fetus, but there has to be intent or malice. That is something the DA’s office says they can’t prove Vehicular manslaughter, which isn’t about malice, doesn’t cover a fetus.
“He did have a heartbeat. We watched that heartbeat drop as he was passing..in my daughter’s arms,” Strianese said.
The family wants the attention of local lawmakers and congress so that something good might come from so much bad.
“I haven’t been able to make it back to work due to nightmares..due to flashbacks,” Strianese said.
The family said they plan to hold more rallies and continue to press the DA’s office. We reached out the DAs office as well as local lawmakers about this subject and we did not hear back today.