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Hung jury in trial of fatal Malibu PCH crash

January 31, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Jurors were unable to reach a verdict Tuesday in the April 2010 fatal crash of a 13-year-old girl along PCH near Point Dume.

The jury of eight men and four women deliberated five times in disagreement before the judge declared a mistrial. Sina Khankhania was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Malibu student Emily Shane.

Prosecutors allege the 28-year-old was trying to commit suicide in April 2010, leaving a two-page suicide note before taking off in his car. He drove recklessly for 17 miles before he intentionally swerved his car toward a pole on PCH. He hit Shane instead, killing the eighth-grader almost instantly.

"We want justice," said Michael Shane, the girl's father. "We need to talk about it further, but Ellen (his wife) and I feel Emily was murdered. She only got to live 13 years of her life, and if he's found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and gets four years, how is that fair?"

However, the defense claimed their client simply lost control of his car and because he had been diagnosed with autism, Khankhanian didn't understand his actions could kill someone.

"I don't think he fully comprehends what has occurred," said defense attorney Bradley Brown. "I think superficially he is aware but in terms of having a deeper appreciation, I don't think he really does."

Juror No. 3 was one person on the jury who felt Khankhania should have been found guilty, saying the man made a calculated risk of driving recklessly for 17 miles.

Defense attorneys said they want to settle the case out of court, but the prosecution is expected to pursue another trial.