SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 25-year-old Costa Mesa man was sentenced today to 30 years to life in prison for triggering an Irvine crash that killed a woman and her 2-year-old granddaughter.
Alec Scott Abraham was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder Feb. 4 for the June 10, 2015, crash that killed 54-year-old Katherine Hampton of Lake Forest and Kaydence Hampton. The toddler's mother, Megan, suffered a broken jaw, and Kaydence's brother, Nathaniel, who was 7 at the time, suffered a broken collarbone.
As has been the case in other hearings involving the defendant, Abraham was repeatedly admonished by Orange County Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham for outbursts and interrupting the proceedings.
There was some confusion over whether Abraham wanted to represent himself, fire his attorney Eric Mayeda Renslo and delay sentencing.
When Pham refused to allow a rescheduling of the sentencing, Abraham said, ``I want to be sentenced today'' even as Renslo made an oral motion for a new trial, arguing the judge should have let the defendant dismiss Renslo as his attorney and that insufficient evidence Abraham showed implied malice in the crime. Pham denied the motion.
``I'm a victim in this case,'' Abraham said.
Three family members of the victims told Pham how the deaths affected them, and that they had been shopping for bridesmaids dresses the night of the crash.
``What should have been remembered as a joyous evening spent with my mother, my two kids and my two soon-to-be sisters-in-law... will now be remembered as my worst nightmare that I can never wake up from because of you, Alec Abraham,'' Megan Hampton said.
``Watching your behavior during both trials clearly shows that you could care less about taking the lives of my mother and daughter,'' she said. ``The day the guilty verdict was given and you were being put in handcuffs, yelling you wanted to hug your little brother one more time struck a nerve with me. You will get the opportunity to see and hold your little brother again, but you didn't stop to think that my family or myself will never again get to hold or hug my daughter or my mother again.''
Megan Hampton said her mother was ``selfless and such a loving and caring person. She was my best friend, the glue to our family and she was our everything.'' She added that ``there are no words to describe the emotional pain my family and I have gone through and will continue to struggle with for the rest of our days with the death of my daughter. No parent should have to make the decision to take their child off life support.''
She said her son has endured ``pain, scars and trauma,'' but added, ``I thank my lucky stars every day that he wasn't taken from me as well, and he fought to stay on this earth with me.''
Megan Hampton's sister-in-law, Shellbee Hampton, said Katherine ``had a dream to live on a ranch with her horses and our family, and you took that dream away from her.''
Katherine Hampton ``was the mother I never had growing up,'' she said.
``To say that Kaydence and I had a special bond would be an understatement,'' she said. ``That little girl was going to move mountains as she got older and you took that.''
Abraham was speeding when he T-boned the car Katherine Hampton was driving, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky.
``The defendant had been warned about his driving,'' the prosecutor said in her opening statement, telling jurors that a state parks police officer pulled Abraham over on Jan. 3, 2015, for speeding on Pacific Coast Highway.
Abraham's co-workers at a Toyota dealership in Huntington Beach also warned him about ``driving recklessly and fast'' at work and across the street at a Starbucks store, Bokosky said.
``All of them will tell you he drove fast and recklessly,'' she said, telling jurors that Abraham would record videos of his speeding and send them to service technicians and fellow sales representatives.
In November 2015, Abraham took a selfie video in a Ford Mustang and sent it via text to a group of co-workers, the prosecutor said. The video, which jurors viewed last Thursday, ``shows the defendant maxing out the Mustang'' as he got it up to 140 mph, Bokosky said.
``These employees told him to stop driving like an idiot'' on a text chain, with one saying they forwarded the video to the California Highway Patrol, Bokosky said.
Abraham was driving a Mustang downhill on Alton Parkway when he swerved into a left-turn lane around idling traffic at a red light and slammed into Katherine Hampton's Chevrolet Cruze at Barranca Parkway, Bokosky said.
``All of the other vehicles had time to stop... except for the defendant,'' she said.
Abraham got out of the Mustang after the crash and checked on the victims before leaving the scene, Bokosky said. A witness said she saw Abraham ``put his hands on his head and walked away,'' the prosecutor said.
Another motorist at the scene of the crash told investigators that Abraham asked to borrow his phone and then fled, Bokosky said.
An Event Data Recorder in the Mustang showed it was traveling at least 75 mph when it slammed into the car, she said.
``The EDR showed he was accelerating at 100%. That means he had his foot to the floor at the moment of impact,'' Bokosky said.
Abraham called his father to pick him up, and was arrested a day later in Costa Mesa, Bokosky said.