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Jury deadlocks on charges against truck driver in fatal crash

July 28, 2011 |  4:46 pm

Marcos Costa

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The jury in the murder trial for the driver of a runaway big rig that killed a 12-year-old girl and her father two years ago in La Cañada Flintridge reported Thursday that it had reached verdicts on the two counts of second-degree murder, but was deadlocked on the lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sent the jury back to deliberate on the involuntary manslaughter charges against the driver, 46-year-old Marcos Costa, the Glendale News-Press reports.

The courtroom in Pasadena was packed with supporters of Costa, and family and friends of the victims, Palmdale resident Angel Posca, 58, and his 12-year-old daughter, Angelina.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolina Lugo had argued that Costa acted with willful disregard for human life as he proceeded down Angeles Crest Highway and the truck's brakes went out, sending it barreling through Foothill Boulevard, striking several cars and crashing into a bookstore.

Costa's defense had portrayed the horrific crash an accident, one that he tried to steer out of despite losing control of the big rig.

The verdict marked the beginning of the end of a long chapter in which Costa was forced to accept professional legal help after a failed attempt to represent himself in trial. Testimony in the weeks-long proceedings included the scientific and the emotional as witnesses recalled the violent events of the crash.

One of them, Melissa Watkins, the bookstore's inventory manager at the time, testified that she and Costa locked eyes for a brief moment while the 25-ton truck barreled toward the store.

"I saw the horror on his face," she said. "His eyes were bulging out of his head."

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-- Jason Wells and Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

Photo: Marcos Costa. Credit: Times Community News

For the record, 6:02 p.m., July 28: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated in the text and the headline that the jury was hung on the second-degree murder charges. The jury is deadlocked on involuntary manslaughter charges.

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