A 19-year-old man who struck and killed a young Indian American jogger in 2015 in San Jose, Calif., while he was speed-racing with another motorist, was sentenced May 18 to one year in county jail.
On Jan. 26, 2015, while she was jogging around noon five blocks away from her home in San Jose, 24-year-old Kiran Pabla was killed when two cars, driven by 19-year-old Gabriel Becerra Esparza and Manuel Maldonado Avalos, crashed while racing, pinning Pabla to a tree. The cars were speeding at approximately 70 miles an hour down a city street. Neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in the incident, according to police reports.
The young victim died at the scene.
Avalos and Esparza were both arrested and held without bail, on charges of vehicular manslaughter. Avalos was acquitted last month by a jury.
Esparza pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to a year in county jail, three years’ probation, and 300 hours of community service. Esparza has apologized to the victim’s family, who feel the sentence was unfair, given Pabla’s death.
“There’s people out there that get a lot more for not paying tickets,” Kunal Singh, Kiran’s brother, told local media after the sentencing. “I feel like he basically got away with murder.”
“It hurts every day. It's not something that just goes away. I don't think it will ever go away,” he said.
Samir Mohan, Pabla’s uncle, told reporters after the pair were initially arraigned on Jan. 28, 2015: “I want to make sure that justice is done for the murder victim. This is no way for a child to die,” he stated, as an unidentified woman standing beside him broke down in sobs.
“I don’t want the murderers to get a slap on their hands,” he said.
Pabla was a graduate of Silver Creek High School in San Jose and had been pursuing a degree in business at California State University East Bay in Hayward. Her mother is battling breast cancer and her father died more than a decade ago, according to an earlier India-West story.
Pabla had two older brothers, Kunal, and Aman.