Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros and Mario Echeverria. Echeverria pleaded guilty in December.
FOREST GROVE, OR (KPTV) -
A teenage driver who ran over two young sisters while they played in a pile of leaves was found guilty on both counts in a unanimous verdict.
The jury finished deliberation Wednesday afternoon for Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, finding her guilty of two counts of failure to perform duties of a driver to injured persons. She'll learn her sentence Jan. 31.
The charges stemmed from the Oct. 20 crash that killed Abigail Robinson, 11, and Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6.
Garcia-Cisnernos testified she drove through a leaf pile on Main Street in Forest Grove and heard a bump, but thought she hit a rock. She learned two children were injured in the crash a few minutes later, according to investigators.
Many people, including family and friends of the young victims and the young defendant, left the courtroom in tears.
"She doesn't deserve it. It could happen to anybody," said Nia Garnica, who said she is best friends with Garcia-Cisneros.
Robinson's father and Dieter-Eckerdt's mother did not comment after the verdict was read.
"The defendant is guilty, but that obviously doesn't bring back the kids, so it's horrible," said Bracken McKey, the prosecutor in the case.
Jurors heard closing statements from McKey and defense attorney Ethan Levi on Wednesday morning.
McKey first told jurors the law requires drivers to stop at the scene of the crash, or as close to the scene as possible, to offer help and exchange information with the other people involved.
He said the law does not become less important if a driver discovers someone was injured in a crash five minutes later.
"At that point, she had an obligation to do the right thing," said McKey. "It would have meant a lot to the family."
Garcia-Cisneros' attorney told the jury the case is about denial and disbelief.
Levi said Garcia-Cisneros, her brother and her boyfriend checked the car for damage and blood, but found none. He told jurors she went into shock and convinced herself she did not drive over the girls.
"She had no idea there were children," he said. "And later on, when she disbelieved it, she still didn't know. She convinced herself she was not responsible, she was not responsible."
Asking her to go immediately back to the accident scene is unreasonable and not required, Levi said.
He added that Garcia-Cisneros feels terrible about what happened.
All 12 jurors agreed on the verdict after deliberating for one hour, 45 minutes.
Levi said he will file an appeal.
The family of the girls killed released a statement to Fox 12 Wednesday night. It reads:
"This verdict may bring some sense of closure to those looking in from the outside, but ultimately it does not bring our girls back. No one won today.
We did our best to teach our girls to be honest and learn from their mistakes. We have the same hope for Cinthya.
We will continue to pray for her and her family. "
Thursday, August 21 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-08-21 18:55:51 GMT
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