A verdict has been reached in the case of a U.S. Marine accused of driving drunk and causing a head-on collision that killed two UCSD medical students in 2015.
Jason Riley King was found guilty on two counts of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated in association with the deaths of Madison Elizabeth Cornwell, 23, and Anne Li Baldock, 24, but was found not guilty on two counts of murder.
Prosecutors said King left In Cahoots Saloon in Mission Valley on the night of May 16, 2015, and drove his lifted Ford F-150 truck into oncoming traffic on State Route 163 and collided head-on with a Toyota Prius killing Cornwell and Baldock.
Cornwell and Baldock, and their three friends who were also injured in the crash, were all UCSD Medical School students.
During trial proceedings, prosecutors said King was escorted out of the bar due to his intoxication and got behind the wheel of his truck despite multiple attempts by friends and bar employees to stop him.
The prosecution also told about King's attendance at two military-sponsored anti-drunk driving events, one of which was just eight days before the deadly crash.
Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said that King's extensive knowledge about the dangers of drinking and driving stemming from weekly warnings and frequent stand-downs sponsored by his employer, the U.S. Marine Corps, was greater than the average person's and is why they pushed for murder charges.
When asked why he took off in his car despite his recent attendance at the seminars and multiple pleas to hand over his keys from friends prior to the crash, King told a judge it was because he was "ignorant."
King's defense agreed with the prosecution's assertion that King was solely responsible for the crash, but argued that the murder charges were too severe.
King could be facing up to 17 and four months years in prison with the possibility of parole in 15 years at his sentencing in April.