Trial setting reset for convicted Northern California hitman accused of vehicular manslaughter

A trial date remains pending for a previously convicted hitman charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in a fatal March 2019 motorcycle crash in Fairfield.

Stephen Duane Chiara, 49, was scheduled to appear Wednesday in Solano County Superior Court, but Judge William J. Pendergast rescheduled proceedings to 8:30 a.m. Feb. 2 in the Justice Center in Fairfield. At that time, Chiara is scheduled for a readiness conference and a trial setting, the same proceedings he was expected to face Wednesday.

Stephen Chiara, 47, of Fairfield, is facing four counts, including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving without a license and DUI causing bodily injury. (HCSO — Contributed) 

Chiara’s latest court date follows his Jan. 24 preliminary hearing, when Pendergast ruled there was enough evidence to hold him for further arraignment on four counts: gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence, DUI causing bodily injury and driving without a license.

During the hearing, Chiara’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Pamela Boskin, referring to testimony from California Highway Patrol Officer John Link, questioned whether her client showed negligence at the time of the March 27 crash.

She further argued that there was “nothing that correlated” — namely the alleged smell of alcohol coming from Chiara’s clothing — to her client’s blood-alcohol content, which was tested and found to be greater than the .08 legal limit, at .13 percent.

Boskin also raised doubts about the two blood samples taken by a phlebotomist contracted with the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, suggesting a mistake may have been made.

Additionally, she raised the possibility that another vehicle may have spooked Chiara at the time of the 8:45 p.m. crash, which occurred when the defendant was driving his Harley-Davidson motorcycle east on Interstate 80 underneath the Green Valley Road overcrossing and ran into a guard rail.

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In response to Boskin’s statements, Deputy District Attorney Susan A. Rados said the case “rests on whether there was another car involved” that contributed to the motorcycle crash in some way.

There was “no evidence that another vehicle” may have been involved, she said, challenging Boskin and alluding to statements made by a witness, Andrew Lind of Suisun City, who was interviewed by Link after the crash.

A CHP report stated that “for unknown reasons, the driver was unable to maintain control of the motorcycle and both the driver and the female passenger were ejected from the motorcycle.”

According to the DA’s charging documents, Chiara was alleged to have been under the influence of both alcohol and an unspecified drug at the time.

Chiara and his passenger, Mary “Max” Hadley, were taken to NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield with major injuries. She later died.

Hadley, identified as a resident of both Eureka and Fairfield, worked in the Humboldt County Public Defender’s Office, according to Transparent California.

Link testified that Chiara suffered a compound fracture in the crash and he interviewed him at the hospital, where he smelled alcohol on the defendant.

The officer said Chiara told him that he was “traveling at freeway speed and someone cut him off.” Link also noted that Chiara said Hadley was his fiancee — a …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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