A 19-year-old woman was arraigned Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court on one count of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in connection with the death of another young woman who was found lying in the middle of a San Jose street last week.
That is a reduced charge.
Sunnyvale resident Jennifer Bautista was initially arrested for murder. She was also arraigned on one felony count of hit-and-run and one misdemeanor count of driving while unlicensed, according to Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Amy Cornell.
Bautista was arrested in downtown San Jose Wednesday on suspicion of killing 20-year-old Norma Leticia Martinez.
Court documents show a witness told police Martinez jumped onto the hood of Bautista's car and that is what cause the lesser charge.
If convicted on all charges, Bautista faces a possible maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Members of Martinez' family were not happy with the new charge.
"I think she should've got more than manslaughter. She murdered my niece and that charge they say carries six to seven years. She's gonna be out, and what about my family? We'll never see Letty again, and she's gonna walk out like it was nothing, just to do it to the next girl that she's with, " Mary Ramirez said.
She will return to court for a plea entry and bail hearing on Jan. 11.
Martinez was found injured and bleeding profusely in front of Our Lady Star of the Sea church at 1385 Michigan Ave. on the morning of Dec. 28. She had been run over by a vehicle, according to police, and died hours later at Regional Medical Center.
A witness told detectives she saw Bautista and Martinez arguing Monday morning. The witness told police she saw Martinez riding atop the hood of a vehicle as the car drove south on Michigan Avenue, according to police.
When officers arrested Bautista, she admitted to being involved in the altercation and driving the vehicle with Martinez on top, according to police.
Police are still trying to locate the vehicle, described as a 1994 purple two-door Honda with license plate number 3JXG825.
Martinez's older sister has said that Bautista and Martinez were involved in an on-again off-again romantic relationship and had recently broken up.
Bay City News