In a rare hospital arraignment, the man accused of killing three elderly sisters and injuring a fourth near Sanger while allegedly driving drunk pleaded not guilty Wednesday .
Tranquilino Ramos Figueroa, 56, of Sanger, remained in his hospital bed to plead not guilty to multiple charges, including three counts of murder and driving with a blood-alcohol level over .08.
Arraignments are usually held at a courtroom and open to the public. But because Figueroa was still recovering at Community Regional Medical Center from Saturday's crash, the court had to be moved to the bedside due to the narrow time frame the judge had for arraignment after the suspect's arrest.
Figueroa, who remains in fair condition, did not consent to media attending the hearing in light of his privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act .
Superior Court Judge Alvin Harrell III, along with court personnel, held the 10-minute arraignment at Figueroa's bedside while reporters stood outside the hospital room.
On Tuesday, Figueroa was charged in the deaths of Jennie Monreal of Sanger, Josephine Contreras of San Jose and Delores Rodriguez of Rey, all in their 70s.
The fourth sister, 67-year-old Elizabeth Rodriguez of Del Rey, was released from CRMC this week.
Figueroa was also charged with causing great bodily injury, a count of hit and run, and driving with a suspended license due to a prior DUI conviction.
The felony complaint alleges Figueroa's blood-alcohol level was .15 or higher when he crashed a minivan head-on into the Toyota Yaris subcompact carrying the four women.
Figueroa was convicted in 2013 conviction for misdemeanor DUI, and is pending trial on another DUI, this one from September 2013. He also failed to appear in court as scheduled on Jan. 24, the day before the triple-fatal crash.
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