San Diego jurors deadlocked Thursday in the trial of a drunk driver who killed a nurse in 4S Ranch.
The jury voted 11-1 in favor of guilt on a second-degree murder count against Alexandria Bayne, 37. Bayne, who had two prior drunk-driving convictions, faced charges in the death of Sarita Shakya, 38, a Scripps Mercy Hospital nurse.
The same jury convicted Bayne on Wednesday of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury. Investigators found her blood alcohol level measured up to four times the legal limit.
The jury acquitted Bayne of four child endangerment counts. Prosecutors alleged that she drove drunk earlier in the day with her children in her minivan.
San Diego County Superior Court Judge Robert F. O’Neill declared a mistrial on the murder charge. He dismissed the jury Thursday.
He also set a Sept. 6 status conference to determine if Bayne should be retried on the murder count.
Shakya was headed home just before midnight on Dec. 17, 2016, when Bayne, traveling the wrong way on Camino del Norte, struck her head-on.
Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said in her opening statement that Bayne started drinking that morning.
The defendant and her attorney conceded she’d been drinking, but was not drunk behind the wheel. Bayne testified that she had eight drinks that day. She also told jurors she simply made a mistake when she turned into opposing traffic on Camino Del Norte.
Bayne’s attorney, Michelle Hunsaker, contended that Bayne made that mistake due to family issues, as well as her cell phone.
Prosecutors said her blood alcohol content measured between .32 and .33 after the crash. The legal limit is .08.
Hunsaker disputed that testing result, saying Bayne’s consumption “just doesn’t line up” with the .33 BAC alleged by the prosecution.
“We are not discounting the magnitude of the loss of Ms. Shakya and take full responsibility for that collision. But distraction does not equal murder,” Hunsaker said.
Shakya’s husband, Peter Chen, testified that his wife typically returned home sometime after midnight following her hospital shift. When she didn’t show up, he called her supervisor, who didn’t know why Shakya might be late.
Hours later, he received the bad news.
“I couldn’t believe what had happened,” Chen said. He called it “the worst day of my life.”
The defendant was charged with murder due to previous DUI convictions from 2005 and 2008. She remains in custody without bail.
– City News Service
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