A Fowler man has been convicted of murder for causing a solo-car crash that killed his co-worker in the passenger seat four years ago – just days before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Isidro Munguia Maravilla, 30, was found guilty late Thursday afternoon in Fresno County Superior Court. Jurors deliberated less than five hours over two days before reaching a verdict.
Maravilla now faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 20.
The crash happened at 7:10 p.m. Nov. 20, 2012, on Floral Avenue, west of DeWolf Avenue and west of Highway 99.
During the trial, prosecutor Sally Moreno told the jury that Maravilla drove off Floral Avenue near Selma, hit a telephone pole and rolled his car into a vineyard. The crash killed his passenger, Christyan Rodriguez, 25, of Fresno.
After the crash, Maravilla had a blood-alcohol level of .21, nearly three times the legal limit of .08 to drive, court records say.
The solo-car crash happened Nov. 20, 2012, on Floral Avenue, west of DeWolf Avenue, west of Highway 99.
Maravilla was tried for second-degree murder under the legal theory of “implied malice.” To get a murder conviction, the prosecution had to prove he drove under the influence, knew driving while drunk was dangerous, and showed a conscious disregard for human life.
Moreno said Maravilla knew it was dangerous to drive while drunk because he had two prior convictions for drunken driving – in October 2008 and in December 2011. Maravilla was on probation when he killed Rodriguez, Moreno said.
In addition, a judge also told Maravilla in December 2011 that if he killed someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he could be charged with murder. Maravilla told the judge he understood the admonition, Moreno told the jury.
In defending Maravilla, Fresno defense attorney Roger Nuttall said his client never intended to kill his friend. They were out that night going to get food when the crash happened, he said.