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Woman convicted of killing 89-year-old

September 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
An elderly woman could be going to prison for running over another elderly woman in a church parking lot. Witnesses claim they heard the victim scream. The suspect says she didn't know she hit anyone. Ana Maria Torres cried quietly after a judge found her guilty of hitting and killing Jessie Pound.

Pound, 89, was walking slowly with a cane on the sidewalk in front of St. Joseph's church in Placentia. Torres, then 75, was driving out of the parking lot after attending morning mass two years ago. A fellow church-goer witnessed the tragedy.

During trial, Torres, through an interpreter, heard the witness describe how he saw her car hit Pound, knocked her to the ground as she screamed with the tire crushing her skull.

The witness testified Torres stopped briefly, then accelerated and driving away.

"She left the scene," said Jason Baez, prosecutor. "She left someone to die and then when police asked her questions about it, instead of admitting it, she lied to police."

"It's incomprehensible to me how she continues to deny even being at the scene," said Sherri Long, daughter-in-law of the victim.

Torres told police she attended an earlier mass and didn't drive her car. She said she walked. Her attorney says she was confused during police questioning. The judge found she lied.

"We're glad we're able to receive closure after all this time," said Ken McHargue, the victim's grandson.

"It's just a sad case all around," said Gary Pohlson, defense attorney.

The defense says Torres, who attends mass daily, should receive community service as punishment.

"This woman has lived the most exemplary life devoted herself to community service," said Pohlson.

"We would like to see some jail time," said Lee Pound, victim's son. "Given her attitude and her unwillingness to even take responsibility."

Torres faces up to four years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

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