San Francisco Bay Area

Brian Jones Convicted of Second-Degree Murder for Drunk Driving Deaths

A 38-year-old Livermore man has been convicted of two counts of second-degree murder for killing a mother and her baby in a drunk-driving crash in Livermore in 2015. Alameda County Superior Court jurors deliberated for two days before announcing their verdict late Monday afternoon against Brian Jones for the deaths of 46-year-old Esperanza Morales-Rodriguez of Seaside and her 14-month-old daughter, Ulidia Perez-Morales, on May 2, 2015.

Prosecutors and police said Jones lost control of his car while driving under the influence of alcohol and crashed into an apartment complex in the 900 block of Murrieta Boulevard just before 6:50 p.m. that day. Police said debris from the crash also struck two boys ages 6 and 7, who were taken to a hospital for treatment.

In addition to the two murder counts, Jones was convicted of felony driving while intoxicated for injuring the 7-year-old boy. Jones faces a lengthy state prison term when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi on Feb. 23. Livermore police said Jones had attended the Livermore Wine Country Festival before the crash.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said when she filed charges against Jones that his blood-alcohol content was 0.14 percent, well above the legal limit for drinking and driving. O’Malley said Jones was under the influence of alcohol as he drove his car at speeds ranging from 75 mph to 99 mph through residential streets in Livermore.

At Jones’ preliminary hearing last year, Jones’ defense attorney Ernie Castillo and prosecutors stipulated that Jones has a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated in Sacramento County in 2003. Rosa Morales, Morales-Rodriguez’s cousin, testified at that hearing that the crash occurred while she was hosting a party to celebrate her daughter’s 19th birthday and that Morales-Rodriguez and her daughter had been among her guests.

Morales said the crash occurred when they went outside to throw away some trash. Morales testified, “We looked up and saw the car coming toward us” but they didn’t have enough time to get out of the way. Castillo was not immediately available for comment today on the verdict.

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