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Music editor sentenced to one year for drunk-driving accident that killed 72-year-old

Pico_veteran A movie and TV music editor was sentenced Friday to one year in jail for a 2009 drunk-driving accident that killed a 72-year-old Culver City man.

Mark David Skillingberg, who worked on the music for "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and "Vampire Diaries," pleaded no contest to one count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. As part of his plea agreement, he also received five years probation and mandatory alcohol education classes.

Skillingberg, 32, was driving eastbound on Pico Boulevard near Veteran Avenue on Oct. 27, 2009, when he crashed into the driver's-side door of Gebregziabher Gabremadhin, killing him instantly, Deputy Dist. Atty. Stefana Antonescu said.

Skillingberg's blood alcohol level was .16, twice the legal limit, and he was driving about 20 miles above the speed limit, Antonescu said.

But Skillingberg has no criminal record and accident reconstructionists later determined that Gabremadhin was trying to make an illegal U-turn at the time of the accident. The district attorney's office ultimately offered a plea agreement since a trial "would likely reach the same result," Antonescu said.

If Skillingberg completes his probation without incident, the felony charge can eventually be reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged from his record.

On Friday, friends and family members packed a courtroom at the Airport Courthouse to plead for a harsher sentence and to remember Gabremadhin, an Ethiopian immigrant they described as a hardworking family man.

"This man just snatched my dad from my life," said a weeping Mona Gabremadhin. "If you kill a person, you should spend more than a few months in jail."

Her brother, Michael Gabremadhin, also addressed the judge and asked, "If you have money does that mean you can get away with this?" And to Skillingberg: "This judge is not the ultimate judge. There is God, and you should fear him."

Judge Katherine Mader expressed sympathy for the victim's family but referenced a probation report that concluded that Skillingberg was not a danger to the community and will learn from the experience.

"Mr. Skillingberg was obviously drunk and he made the decision to drive," she said. "But he is not going unpunished."

RELATED:

Two die when their car struck by truck on 60 Freeway

Hollywood animator killed while checking on his Ferrari on Ventura Freeway

Truck driver killed on 605 Freeway in Santa Fe Springs

-- Shan Li

Map shows location of the car accident that killed Gebregziabher Gabremadhin. Source: Google Maps

 
Comments () | Archives (17)

SO, a music editor drives drunk, drives recklesly, and then kills someone and he gets a "NO CONTEST" plea bargain deal for Probation and 1 year in the county jail (which means 3-4 months really)??? what country are we living in?? arent there at least 3-4 crimes involved? arent there people doing years in prison for stealing cookies and smoking pot???
Ironicaly, the judge, JUDGE KATHERINE MADER is a former defense attorney who defended many crooks, including the "HILLSIDE STRANGLER"... killer of 10 women. How ironic that the District Attorney (Stefana Antonescu, John Lynch, and Steve Cooley) chose to change judges and chose Katherine Mader. I smell a rat here!!! There needs to be an investigation on the connections between the KATHERINE MADER, JOHN LYNCH, STEVE COOLEY, and defense attorney Richard Hutton!! follow the money!!!
Steve Cooley is not tough on crime, he is tough on victims and those who cannot afford Richard Hutton. Judge Katherine Mader seems to think she is still a defense attorney! ITS TIME TO VOTE THESE REAL CROOKS OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!

Judge Katherine Mader is the same person that was the defense attorney for "The Hillside Murderer" who killed 10 women. She also defended many other crooks, including gang members!!! How can a woman that defended those creeps be a judge to put criminals away??? Im sure Katherine Mader, defense attorney Roger Hutton, and D.A's John Lynch, Stefana Antonescu, and Steve Cooley have a connection! Follow the money!!! They are all criminals. Time to vote them out.
Great story LA Times!!!

I don't care what any probation report says. If you're BAC is 0.16% and you're driving 20 mph over the speed limit on a relatively small major thoroughfare and you kill a guy, you're a danger to the community.

How can anyone possibly justify dropping gross negligence from the charges?

Shouldn't there be gross negligence per se if you decide to drive at twice the legal limits and then kill someone?

Good thing he didn't kill an animal, he would have to do way more time.

No news here...double standard in this city will continue until we demand fairness. I would assume this same sentence would be handed down to any Joe Schmo, right? This city and its judicial system is laughable.

Yet another example of the inequalities right in front of your face!
This man skates on what is tant amount to murder why?

This guy should be behind bars for a long time. As soon as he is let out, he becomes a menace to other drivers who share the same road. Guaranteed, we'll be reading about another accident caused by this drunk murderer in a couple years. What will your excuse be then, Judge Mader?

Drunk driving, bad. Making an illegal u-turn on a small thoroughfare, bad. Both parties contributed to this tragedy. Two bad decisions. Two bad drivers. Mr. Gabremadhin wasn't an innocent bystander. He put himself in harms way. Therefore, he wasn't "snatched from life". He took a chance and lost.

"a trial 'would likely reach the same result,' Antonescu said..."

How does the D.A.'s office know ahead of time how a jury will decide on any case?

They were both wrong. One is dead and one is in prison. Hopefully, the one going to prison will become a better person for this whole experience. I did when something similar happened to me.

The important part is that the article says hopefully defendant will learn something.,

As Lysette remarked, the victim in this instance isn't totally without fault having attempted to make an illegal U turn. I would also venture to say that a senior citizen with impaired reaction time also have struck the victim, all the moreso if this was a last second sort of turn(which it may very well have been).

Outrage!!!
1 year! OUST these corrupt officials who let money or connections blind them to justice. Judge katherine mader (lower case intended) you are a DISGRACE!!!!

The statement the DA said was "trying" not that he did....BIG DIFFERENCE.

seriously, you can't equate an illegal u-turn with drunk driving.

This is sicking to my stomch-because this is exactly why innoent people die. It is no secret that drunk drivers are repeat offenders. Are you waiting on a child next time? How disgusting are we looking across the world-Michael Vic goes to jail for animals but here an innocent life was just taken. NO WONDER WHY WE ARE BEING LAUGHED AT- WHERES THE JUSTICE?????

what get's me is that the district attorney's office (STEVE COOLEY) would plea bargain a case that involved a DUI that caused a murder / a killing / a manslaughter????? WHAT'S UP COOLEY? WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO U NOT FEARING TO PROSECUTE CASES....WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR STRICTER SENTENCING TO DUI? WHERE IS JUSTICE GOING...IF THERE EVER EXISTED ANY JUSTICE? You people who hold all the power have a lack of regard for the people...it's all a money, prestige & power game. Who is scratching whose back....Judge Mader did the couch trip somewhere and sold her dignity and respect....she needs a psychic exam...a real sick lady....we need to get her out of office as she seems to let criminals off real easy. remember if you want to get a free pass and have killed someone, make sure you get in front of Judge Katherine Mader, a criminal lover.


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