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Man who fatally struck girl during pursuit gets 15 years in prison

November 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man who led police on a pursuit in 2010 and struck and killed a little girl playing in her front yard was sentenced Thursday.

Aaron Rojas kept his head down in the San Fernando courtroom. A judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison for the second-degree murder of 6-year-old Kayla Woods.

The judge heard a witness impact statement from the victim's parents. The prosecutor read the statement as the child's weeping parents stood nearby.

"There are many who so loved Kayla," the lawyer said. "This criminal probably isn't capable of understanding the harm that he caused to so many. And if he did, I wonder if he would care."

Rojas was the driver of a red sedan that led police on a pursuit. A front seat passenger tossed guns from the vehicle during the chase. There was also a back seat passenger. As the pursuit continued on streets through Lake View Terrace, Rojas had slammed into 6-year-old Kayla Woods, who was out playing with her brother and friends in her front yard.

"It's beyond words," said Matt Woods, the girl's father. "You can't imagine. You can't imagine the grief. She was just out playing with her brother and her cousin and her two neighbors and the car hit her."

The second man in the getaway car, 27-year-old Juaquin Hiriate, pleaded guilty to weapons charges and was sentenced in June to 21 years in prison. The third man was sentenced last year to three years in prison for possession of drugs to sell.

"I lost my little girl 2 1/2 years ago and it's finally come to the conclusion where they put the men away that have done this," Matt Woods said.