The family of Patrick O’Connor, the 27 year old Sacramento resident who was killed on his bike on September 1st, 2010, took comfort last week when the driver of the car that killed him, 21 year old Vanessa Carrillo, was formally booked in Modesto on Wednesday, April 6th.
At an earlier hearing, Carrillo was assigned a new public defender, adding to the growing list of reassignments, misdirections and general confusion which has characterised this case since last September. A new prosecutor has also been appointed, this time bringing promise of a new investigation and pre-trial hearing. For Patrick’s father, Jim, who has repeatedly expressed frustration at way the Stanislaus County District Attorney has handled the case, there seems to be a small glimmer of hope:
“Next Tuesday (April 12th) we will travel again to Modesto to lend support to the new prosecutor and his new investigative team and observe the proceedings.”
Jim O’ Conner was astonished to learn, however, that Carrillo had been stopped and issued a citation by police on the 25th March. Carrillo, whose license had been suspended and physically confiscated by the DMV, was caught driving illegally.
“She was not brought into jail or charged, just ticketed and released.” He said at the time, his anger and dismay palpable.“What does it take to get Carrillo booked? She has never been booked for anything. No picture, no fingerprinting, no bail, no jail time, just a complaint warrant that she killed someone in Stanislaus County.”
(At the pre-trial hearing on the 12th April, a charge of Driving While Suspended was added to the manslaughter charge.)
Patrick’s family, who live in Northridge, have traveled hundreds of miles to Modesto repeatedly since the start of the year to attend pre-trail hearings and to meet with the staff of the DA’s office. One such trip, Jim confided, led him to discover that Carrillo – a Senior at Stanislaus University – is majoring in Criminal Justice.
“(Carrillo) has been riding along with local law enforcement for some time. We found out that she “tweets” a lot, and has done so while driving. We hope that the new DA, Mr Mury, has subpoenaed her phone records as part of the new discoveries.”
A Facebook group – “In Loving Memory of Patrick O’ Connor” has been created to document the progress of the case, which, thanks to the efforts of Jim and his wife, Mary, is starting to gain much-needed attention in the local press.