Charges against Marcus Green, 54, of Thermal, and against Kristen Lauer, 25, of Rancho Mirage, have been combined into one trial. Green was the driver of a car that went over the side of Highway 74 in May 2016 and resulted in the death of his 5-month-old infant, and Lauer was the baby’s mother.
Green was driving his Porsche and Lauer was the passenger. While the parents, wearing seatbelts, survived the crash, the baby, Armani, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.
Green was charged on May 6, 2016, with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, willful harm of a child and inflection of great bodily harm, almost immediately after the collision. Green’s bail was set at $1.86 million and he has been in custody since his arrest.
But Lauer was not charged until May 4, 2017, and arraigned on Feb. 20, 2019. Her bail was set at $100,000 and she was released on bail.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office moved in early May this year to combine the two cases. The motion cited Penal Code section 1098, which authorizes joint trials. And Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao cited case law supporting joint trials “… when defendants are charged with common crimes involving common events and victims.”
The California Appeals Courts have agreed that joint trials in these circumstances are an efficient use of judicial resources.
In her motion, Paixao wrote, “both defendants are charged with crimes involving the same victim and the same course of conduct. … Such a process will promote judicial economy, avoid the need of recalling the witnesses in multiple consecutive trials, and eliminate the possible scandal of inconsistent verdicts.”
The court concurred on Friday, May 24, and scheduled a new felony settlement conference for May 30.