The 89-year-old man who was found guilty of ten counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for killing ten people in a crash at the Santa Monica Farmers Market three years ago, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday, November 20th.
Sentencing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles.
George Russell Weller, who was 86 when the farmers market tragedy occurred July 16th, 2003, could face up to 18 years in prison.
The jury, comprised of six men and six women, deliberated for eight days before reaching guilty verdicts Friday, October 20th, on all ten vehicular manslaughter counts in the trial of the Santa Monica Farmers Market crash.
Weller was not at the court when the verdicts were read because of his poor health.
At a court hearing Friday, October 27th, Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson set November 20th as the date for Weller’s sentencing.
Defense attorneys have filed paperwork requesting that Weller not be present at the sentencing because of his medical condition, district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
But prosecutors argued that Weller should attend the sentencing to allow the victims and their families to confront him at the hearing, Robison said.
Johnson is expected to decide by Wednesday, November 15th, if Weller will need to attend the sentencing, she added.
The district attorney has not recommended a sentence for Weller, but he is expected to file a recommendation to the judge by Monday, November 13th, she said.
Prosecutors said they expect at least 20 people, including victims and their family members and friends, to attend the sentencing hearing.
Defense attorneys have said they plan to appeal the verdicts and file a motion for a new trial.
The ten counts of vehicular manslaughter represented each of the ten victims who were killed when Weller drove his Buick Le Sabre through the crowded open-air market on Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica.
The victims ranged in age from seven months to 78 years. More than 60 others were injured in the crash.