A driver found guilty in February of murder, DUI and forging prescriptions was sentenced today to 17 years to life in state prison.
Asked in January if a murder count for the DUI-related slaying of a pedestrian was proper, Weekly readers engaged in a lively debate in our comments section.
In case you missed it: Hall, who had two previous DUI convictions, was blazing on methamphetamine, Diazepam, Nordiazepam, Alprazolam, Hydroxyalprazolam, Oxazepam, Temazepam, amphetamine, Morphine, and 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahyrocannabinol (THCA) as he drove his Ford SUV through a red light at Moulton Parkway and Nueva Vista Drive in Laguna Niguel after 11 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2011, striking a Toyota SUV. Both vehicles spun out and the Toyota occupants were injured. The Ford continued up the curb, onto the sidewalk and into Mara Lynnes Steves, who was walking a dog. The 48-year-old died from her injuries.
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Hall was arrested but out of custody before the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) filed charges against him. Sheriff's deputies called to take him back into custody found him at a CVS pharmacy, where he was trying to pick up Xanax and Norco with forged prescriptions. Further investigation found he'd called Elizabeth Rene Parker, a friend who worked at a doctor's office, to get the scripts. She later pleaded guilty to second degree burglary and obtaining a prescription by fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation and was sentenced to two years in state prison.
A jury on Feb. 14 found Hall guilty of one felony count of murder, one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs, two felony counts of obtaining or possessing drugs secured by a forged prescription, and one felony count of forgery of prescription.
At today's sentencing, three friends of Steves and her husband, daughter, son and mother delivered victim impact statements to the court, according to an OCDA conviction statement. Husband John Steves' stated the family is suffering a life sentence because of the tragedy, while the couple's daughter, Hannah Steves, said that she lost a mother and best friend who would not be there to see her grow up, get married and have children.