Tuesday, November 21, 2006
From latimes.com: For 25 minutes Monday, a judge attacked George Russell Weller's "enormous indifference" and "unbelievable callousness" in running down and killing 10 pedestrians in a Santa Monica open-air market. The 89-year-old deserved prison for his crime, the judge said. But in the end, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson placed Weller on probation, finding that his age and poor health undercut any value to imprisonment.
"Mr. Weller deserves to go to prison, but because of and only because of his rapidly declining health, I will place him on probation," Johnson said in a withering critique of Weller's behavior during and after the 2003 crash.
The toll from Weller's 20-second drive through the Santa Monica Farmers' Market on July 16, 2003 — 78 people killed or injured — included the highest number of pedestrian fatalities from a traffic accident in California history.
"It's not closure for me," said Lily Hoffman, whose 78-year-old father, Movsha, died in the crash. Her mother, Esther, now 77, who was at his side, was seriously injured. "I'm not satisfied at all." Weller "was grossly negligent. This trial accomplished nothing." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]