No Retrial in Vehicular Manslaughter Case

Botello Effectively Cleared of Charges

The district attorney’s office announced in a hearing Thursday it would not retry its case against Ernesto Botello in the death of 12-year-old Jake Boysel. A mistrial was declared May 1 by Judge Clifford Anderson after he decided the jury was “hopelessly deadlocked.” Botello, 24, was facing misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges for running over and killing Boysel, who was riding his bicycle in the bicycle lane along Calle Real near Highway 154 on his way to La Colina Junior High last September. Botello, who was on his way to work, maintains the sun was glaring in his eyes and he couldn’t see Boysel.

A jury deliberated for nearly three days over a week’s worth of time, but couldn’t come to a decision. After the mistrial was declared, jurors said the group of 12 was split 50/50. Deputy District Attorney Ali Neufer couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, but said May 1 that she thought the case “posed a difficult question for the members of this community and this jury.”

In a misdemeanor case, when the jury comes back undecided, the district attorney’s office has 30 days to retry the case. The decision means Botello can never face the same charges again in the case. “I’m please the DA’s office saw their way to do the right thing,” Botello’s attorney Neil Levinson said Friday. Botello hasn’t spoken to the media about the incident, but Levinson said there was “complete relief” on Botello’s side. “You could say justice was served,” he said.

At the conclusion of the trial, Boysel’s parents said Botello hadn’t reached out to apologize to them about the collision, but Levinson said a request was recently made to see them and Botello had offered to apologize directly to them late last year, but an arrangement hadn’t been made. “He is as sorry as anyone could possibly be for what happened,” Levinson said. “He still would like to apologize because it happened. He feels bad about it.”

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