Saturday, March 8, 2008

.20 DUI Death-causer wants sympathy but gets 15 years to Life in California

California DUI lawyer news

Wayne Olson lost his wife to a DUI driver and sat with tears brimming in his eyes in the courtroom gallery as he watched a California DUI judge sentence Jonathan Paul Michael Barber, 28, to 15 years to life in prison on his second-degree murder conviction.

Before Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel handed down the maximum possible California DUI sentence, he castigated Barber for ignoring a series of warnings from judges in earlier cases about his drinking and drug usage.

"Unfortunately, it's too late now," Fasel told Barber. "It took a second-degree murder conviction for you to finally get it."

Barber was found guilty last year of second-degree murder and hit-and-run for the Aug. 22, 2003, high-speed crash that killed Carla Denise Olson, a 43-year-old mother of three who had been a sociology professor at Golden West College.

Carla Olson was driving her Harley-Davidson motorcycle on an evening ride with her husband when she was rammed from behind on Irvine Boulevard near the old El Toro Marine Base.

Barber, who had a history of drug and alcohol - California DUI offenses and was driving on a suspended license, fled from the scene after the 100 mph crash. He was quickly apprehended. California DUI Tests concluded that his blood-alcohol level was 0.20 – 2.5 times the California DUI level.

The case drew widespread attention – more than that given to other California DUI drunk-driving fatalities – after the California Highway Patrol reported that Barber, while being treated for minor injuries after his California DUI arrest, blurted out:

"Look, dog. It was an accident, man. I didn't mean to kill the b...... So why don't you have some sympathy for me?' "

Barber tearfully apologized to the Olson family. "I am so sorry I have caused so much hurt and grief," he said.

He also apologized "that such a disrespectful statement was attributed to me about Mrs. Olson." His California DUI attorney had little to argue.