9/20/12: From the Daily Pilot we learn that the suspect was in court, and his arraignment has been continued to Oct 5th.
Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim, faces one felony count of hit-and-run causing the death of Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion-Ritz, and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, according to the D.A.’s office.
Lopez also faces a sentencing enhancement for a prior strike conviction in 1993 for a residential burglary, prosecutors said.
If convicted of all charges, the suspect faces a maximum of 8 years in state prison.
Bail is expected to be set at $100,000, far too low in our opinion, but we trust our county team to know what they’re doing. Although we note that compared to the arresting charges, the prosecuting charges appear to be watered down from Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence, to Vehicular Manslaughter without Gross Negligence. Why the change?
One again, our sincere thanks to the tireless and dedicated hard work conducted by the Newport Beach Police Department, and others, to bring this matter to the District Attorney who we’re sure will prevail.
For a picture of the suspect please see the Daily Pilot.
The case is # 12CF2769, and is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida of the Homicide Unit.