Kent man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide in motorcyclist death
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
September 7, 2012 · 4:07 PM
An 18-year-old Kent man pleaded not guilty to a vehicular homicide charge in connection with the death Aug. 22 of a 55-year-old Kent motorcyclist in the Panther Lake area.
Justin Jerald Cordova entered the plea Thursday in King County Superior Court in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. He is scheduled to return to court Sept. 19 when a trial date could be set or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case. Cordova remained Friday in the county jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center with bail set at $100,000.
If convicted of vehicular homicide, Cordova faces a sentencing range of six to 8 1/2 years under a new state law that took effect in June. The previous sentencing range was 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years.
Prosecutors allege that Cordova had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent and traveled at high speed in a 1986 Nissan coupe eastbound in the 12100 block of Southeast 223rd Drive when his car reportedly crossed the centerline and collided with a westbound 2006 Suzuki motorcycle driven by David Daniel at about 6:44 a.m. Aug. 22, according to charging papers. Daniel died at the scene.
Witnesses reported that Cordova had been going an estimated 65 mph on Southeast 223rd Drive just prior to the accident. They described the car as going "freeway speed." The posted speed is 25 mph in the residential neighborhood.
Cordova told Kent Police officers that he had been drinking Red Bull and Jaegermeister at about 11 the previous night. He said he was going about 45 mph and didn't see the motorcycle. Cordova submitted to a portable breath test that indicated a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent, above the 0.02 level to cite a minor for a DUI and the 0.08 level for adults.
Cordova has prior convictions for third-degree assault and obstructing in 2010, according to charging papers. He also had an unspecified alcohol offense in 2011.Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.