The Region

An insurance salesman who crashed his car into a Studio City home, killing a 4-year-old girl, pleaded not guilty in Van Nuys Municipal Court to second-degree murder and drunk driving. James Benjamin Masoner, 46, had been driven home from an office party by two associates who thought he was too drunk to drive. Police said he then got into his car and sped away, jumping a curb, plowing into a neighbor's home and killing the child, Jessica Shaner, who was asleep on a sofa. Police said her 10-week-old brother narrowly escaped death. Masoner's blood alcohol content was reported to be .23%, more than twice the legal limit. His preliminary hearing was set for April 21.

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