An Alameda man who apologized in court for his actions was sentenced today to 11 years in state prison for killing a 78-year-old man with his sport utility vehicle on a sidewalk in Alameda two years ago.Dionisio Molina, 38, pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter on Sept. 9 for the death of George Marceline on July 5, 2008.His plea came two days after jurors acquitted him of first-degree murder and deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquitting him of second-degree murder after about a week of deliberations.A mistrial was declared on the murder charge, but at the beginning of deliberations, the jury convicted Molina of two counts of battery for attacking two Alameda police detectives during an interrogation four days after he killed Marceline. However, jurors acquitted Molina of attempted murder for almost hitting a woman shortly after he struck and killed Marceline.Before he was sentenced today, Molina said, “I never meant to hurt anyone. I never meant to cause anyone’s death.”Referring to Marceline, Molina said, “If I could trade my life for his, I would. I apologize to his family and to my family.” Marceline’s family members walked out of court when Molina began speaking.Before Molina addressed the court, Marceline’s son, Muata Olatunji of Oak Grove, told Molina, “I hope you experience the worst in prison and you die a painful and lonely death.”Olatunji said, “The act that you committed not only murdered my father but wounded scores and scores of other people.”Molina’s lawyer, David Billingsley, admitted during the trial that Molina ran over Marceline with his Jeep Grand Cherokee in the 2000 block of Shoreline Drive, which runs along the San Francisco Bay, at about 5:30 a.m. on July 5, 2008, and almost hit a woman shortly after.But Billingsley said Molina should only be convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Marceline’s death and should be acquitted of the attempted murder charge.The defense lawyer argued that his client was not conscious at the time of the accident and wasn’t in control of his actions.Billingsley said Molina “was operating in a state of altered consciousness” because he had suffered from some kind of brain trauma caused by his wife about 10 days earlier when she hit him twice on the head with a wooden box during a fight.Billingsley said those blows — plus previous use of a sleep-aid drug and stress from financial problems and losing his job — put Molina in a state where he didn’t have control of his actions.But prosecutor Annie Saadi told jurors that Molina should be convicted of murder, alleging that he set out to hurt people because he was mad at the world on the morning of July 5, 2008, due to marital, financial and employment problems.Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta said today that Molina has shown very little remorse and “has yet to grasp the consequences of his actions.”Panetta said Molina told a probation officer who interviewed him after his conviction that he didn’t think he should get an 11-year sentence and he doesn’t think the case against him was fair.”His actions were all blamed on prescription medications, but he went on a binge voluntarily,” Panetta said.The judge said, “No one forced him to take Jack Daniels or Valium or Ambien.”
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Stephan J. Dougan, Personal Injury Attorney
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