Man found guilty after hitting teenager

February 11, 2009 11:59:52 PM PST
A grief-stricken San Jose family got justice on Wednesday, three long years after their son was hit and killed crossing the street. The driver was found guilty, but that verdict never would have happened without the persistence of the young victim's parents.

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A slight smile creeps across Elaine Aviles face as she stands outside the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

"My son was heard. That's all I wanted, was for him to be heard," said Aviles, Marcus Keppert's mother.

15-year-old Marcus Keppert died three years ago, after being run down by a drunk driver.

On Wednesday a judge found George Xinos guilty of felony manslaughter, hit and run and driving under the influence.

"We haven't been able to mourn for our son because of the distraction of this trial. So now we have to face that," said Jeff Keppert, Marcus's father.

It's a case that's engulfed this family with all of its twists and turns.

The night Marcus died, police reports put the blame on the teenager for stepping out into the crosswalk on a red light. Witnesses also said Xinos wasn't speeding.

A few months after the crash, the D.A. charged Xinos with felony hit and run. It would've meant a year under house arrest. After further investigation, she changed her mind and added a charge of manslaughter.

All of this came after Marcus's family hired private investigators to look into the details of the case.

They found Xinos's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit and a computer, embedded in Xinos's car showed he was going 76 in a 45-mile-per-hour zone. Xinos's attorney plans to appeal.

"No one in Mr. Xinos's situation, whether he had been under the influence or not, no one could've avoided this accident," said Charles Mesirow, Xinos's defense attorney.

"He was driving 76 miles an hour, 31 miles over the speed limit and it's still not his fault he says," said Aviles.

George Xinos could face up to nine years in prison.

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