Man Convicted of DUI Murder Faces Life in Prison

The Los Angeles Times reports that a Mission Viejo man was found guilty of second-degree murder in an Orange County Court on Wednesday for his role in the death of a Costa Mesa Fire Captain in 2018. He is now facing between 15 years and life in prison.

After two days of trial and just two hours and 30 minutes of deliberation, a Santa Ana jury found 28-year-old Stephen Taylor Scarpa guilty of the charge of second-degree murder.

Court documents indicate that the fatal crash that killed the fire captain happened on November 3, 2018, near the intersection of Alicia Parkway and Van Burgos in Mission Viejo. Scarpa had been sleep-deprived and had allegedly consumed multiple drugs at a party earlier that morning.

According to the accident report from the Mission Viejo Police Department, Scarpa lost control of his minivan, which jumped the curb and onto a sidewalk where the 44-year-old victim was riding his bicycle.

Paramedics responding at the scene rushed the victim to an area hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. He died two days later.

Prosecutors told jury members that Scarpa had been convicted of previous DUI incidents even though he had participated in a program in high school that warned of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Defense attorneys for Scarpa said that Scarpa had simply been caught up in a “perfect storm” of being overtired after several days of no sleep and a 25-mile drive.

Scarpa is due to appear in court on December 8, 2021, to be sentenced.

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