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Jury deliberates in double-murder case against Costa Mesa man accused of street racing before fatal Irvine crash

Jury deliberates in double-murder case against Costa Mesa man accused of street racing before fatal Irvine crash
A woman and her 2-year-old granddaughter were killed in a crash at Barranca and Alton parkways in Irvine in June 2015. Alec Scott Abraham of Costa Mesa is charged with two counts of murder. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A jury began deliberating Thursday in the trial of a Costa Mesa man accused of killing a woman and her granddaughter in a 2015 collision in Irvine after running a red light while street racing.

Alec Scott Abraham is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of Katherine Hampton, 54, of Lake Forest, who died at the scene of the crash, and her 2-year-old granddaughter, Kaydence, who died later in a hospital.

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Abraham could face 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors allege Abraham was racing his Ford Mustang against another car the night of June 10, 2015, when he entered the intersection of Alton and Barranca parkways and collided with a Chevrolet Cruze driven by Hampton.

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Hampton was returning home from South Coast Plaza with her daughter, Megan, and two grandchildren, Kaydence and Nathaniel, court documents said.

Hampton was wearing a seat belt and Kaydence was in a booster seat, according to court documents.

Witnesses testified that Abraham approached the intersection at about 70 mph before entering against a red light, and the Mustang broadsided the Cruze.

After the collision, prosecutors allege, Abraham walked to the mangled Cruze, peered inside and then walked back to his car. He then asked a bystander who had been walking his dog to borrow his cellphone, court documents said. The bystander lent it to Abraham, who made a call while walking back to Hampton’s vehicle. The phone’s owner then saw Abraham running down Alton Parkway, according to court documents.

Another witness described seeing Abraham running along a drainage ditch, then jumping a chain-link fence, crossing railroad tracks and jumping another chain-link fence into a business park, court documents said.

Police later found Abraham’s blood-stained jacket where he was said to have climbed over a fence, along with other blood on the fence, prosecutors said.

The borrowed cellphone was found in a drainage ditch near a business off Alton Parkway, court documents said. Police said they determined that the outgoing call on the phone had been to Abraham’s father.

Abraham was arrested the following day near a Costa Mesa park.

Abraham’s lawyer challenged claims that his client was racing, saying there were no skid marks or security footage to confirm a second vehicle.

The Orange County district attorney’s office originally charged Abraham with manslaughter but soon increased the charges to murder. Suspects can be charged with murder in certain situations if prosecutors believe they were aware they were risking someone’s life and chose to proceed anyway.

Police officers found multiple traffic citations in the Mustang, including speeding tickets, court documents said.

Authorities obtained a cellphone video that they said Abraham previously sent to friends showing him reaching 140 mph as he yelled “Whoooo!”

The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

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