SoCal public defender among 3 killed in plane crash in Tehachapi Mountains

Three people killed in a small plane crash in the Tehachapi Mountains were identified by the Kern County coroner on Monday, and among them was a longtime public defender.

Felipe Plascencia, a 53-year-old resident of Whittier, was also a nationally recognized figure in DUI cases in the latter half of his career.

Defenders and prosecutors throughout Southern California honored him Monday night on social media, praising him as a relentless advocate and beloved mentor.

In one photo, Plascencia is seen with fellow attorney Marina Villavicencio, of Yorba Linda, who was also killed in the crash on Thursday night.

The third victim was identified as Ruben Piranian, a resident of Granada Hills.

The twin-engine Beechcraft was reported overdue Thursday on a flight from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles.

Kern County authorities spotted the wreck on Saturday and retrieved the bodies over the weekend. Much of the wreckage was under about 5 feet of snow.

Federal investigators are trying to determine the cause of the crash.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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