◼ Guilty plea planned for Hoopa man in cyclist's death
A Hoopa man told the court Thursday that he wanted to plead guilty to the charges against him stemming from a collision that killed a bicyclist last summer -- but he'll have to wait two weeks.
Thursday was set as 27-year-old Alan Bear's pre-trial hearing. His defense attorney Manny Daskal told the court Bear intended to plead guilty. However, because an amended complaint had been filed the court required a second arraignment in two weeks. Bear will be able to plead guilty then.
Bear is accused of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, providing false information to a police officer and other traffic violations in connection with the collision that killed 42-year-old bicyclist and local botanist Gregory Jennings on Aug. 25, 2008, according to court documents.
Daskal said Bear was willing to plead guilty after Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos reduced the vehicle manslaughter charge from a felony to a misdemeanor on July 2.
”We always felt the case was overcharged,” he said.
Gallegos said the charge was reduced because the reporting officer revised his statement on the collision and it did not appear that Bear acted with gross negligence.
”Further investigation proved that it was not gross negligence or at least that we couldn't prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt,” Gallegos said at the preliminary hearing.
The collision that killed Jennings is a tragedy and the case had gone on long enough for the victim's family and friends, and for Bear, Daskal said.
”It's time to get it over with,” he said.
Bear's arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 3.