Prosecutors to appeal dismissal of murder charges

PASADENA — County prosecutors will appeal an earlier court decision to dismiss the murder charges against the driver of a big rig that barreled through the Foothill Boulevard intersection of Angeles Crest Highway in April killing a 12-year-old and her father, officials said.

The charges against 44-year-old Marcos Barbosa Costa, who also holds a Brazilian passport, were dismissed Oct. 9 after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench said the circumstances of the crash did not rise to the level of murder.

But on Friday, Jane Robison, spokeswoman for district attorney’s office, said prosecutors would appeal that decision at a Nov. 13 pretrial hearing in Pasadena.

The filing could delay the start of the trial, which is now less than 20 days away from what was to be the deadline for opening statements.

“It could possibly stop the proceedings,” Robison said. “But if the appellate court decides not to hear the case, the trial will likely move forward.”

Costa’s attorney, Steve Meister, blasted the planned appeal as an unnecessary delay.

“I’m angered by the [district attorney’s] leisurely contemplation of their next course of action while my client sits in jail, dangling on the [district attorney’s] leash,” Meister said. “If the court of appeals decides to hear it, I think they’re going to lose.”

Citing Lench’s decision to not only dismiss the muder charges, but reduce Costa’s bail amount, Meister called the entire case “a tragedy and not a crime.”

“I think the [district attorney] has grossly overestimated their case since the beginning and misread the community’s sentiment,” he said.

Despite Lench’s decision to cut the bail amount nearly in half to $340,000, Meister his client would be unable to come up with the money.

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