People v Brian Zachary Jones

On November 13, 2017, a jury found defendant Brian Zachary Jones guilty of two counts of second degree murder for the deaths of 44-year-old Esparanza Morales-Rodriguez and her one-year-old daughter Yulidia Perez. The jury also convicted Defendant Jones of driving under the influence of alcohol and injuring a seven-year-old child, Carlos Morales.

On May 2, 2015, Defendant Jones and a friend attended the Livermore Wine Festival and they concluded their drinking at Buffalo Wild Wings at approximately 6pm. Though intoxicated, Defendant Jones decided to drive the friend home in his new Corvette.

Meanwhile, the extended family of Ms Morales-Rodriguez were celebrating a birthday and first communion of family members at a residence in the 900 block of Murieta Boulevard, in Livermore. Seven-year-old Carlos Morales was playing with a cousin in the backyard of the apartment, while Mrs Morales-Rodriguez and her daughter were walking along a path leading to the complex.

At approximately 6:51pm, Defendant Jones was driving at 99 mph in a posted 35 mph zone when he failed to negotiate a bend in the roadway, jumped a curb, and struck Mrs Morales-Rodriguez and her young child. The Corvette continued forward and crashed into the rear fences of two apartments. Young Carlos and his cousin were injured by flying debris and were treated at the Children's Hospital for their injuries. Tragically, Mrs Morales-Rodriguez and her daughter Yulidia were killed instantly.

Bystanders removed Defendant Jones from the Corvette and detained him at the scene until Livermore Police arrived. Defendant Jones registered a 0.13 and 0.14 blood alcohol content in the preliminary alcohol screening test at the scene, and a blood test later at Eden Hospital confirmed a 0.14 blood alcohol content.

After extensive accident investigations by both CHP and Livermore Police Department, Defendant Jones was found to have accelerated to 99 mph in the short distance between Stanley Blvd. the collision. The throttle of his vehicle was at 99 percent immediately before the Corvette hit the curb. Witnesses who testified at the trial described how Defendant Jones had been driving recklessly and with excessive speed around the neighborhood in the minutes before the crash, as well as almost striking other people standing near the sidewalk on Murieta.

Defendant Brian Zachary Jones is scheduled to be sentenced on February 23, 2018.

The case was prosecuted by DDA Kevin Ikuma with assistance from DA Inspector Eric Karsseboom and Victim-Witness Advocate Nicole Santos.

Posted on Nov 15, 2017