For the 42-year-old
“To be honest with you, I don’t want to get involved and worry about what happens to him,” Martinez told the
Killed instantly in the
They were in
Martinez says he gets occasional updates about the prosecution, but has no plans to attend the trial, which could happen before the end of the year.
“I don’t want to be in court with this guy. I don’t need that,” said Martinez, an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law, with a focus on trademark and copyright cases.
Martinez says he’s not out for vengeance or a particular punishment. “He killed four persons so I guess that’s like the biggest sentence he will always have. His life is destroyed, and I’m sure today he’s worse off than me.”
Was driver high on Dust-off?
The defense claims Streater, 22, was speeding uncontrollably because of a malfunction that caused the pickup to experience sudden acceleration that night. A witness said he swerved from one of the southbound lanes into a left-turn lane, where the Caravan was waiting to go east on
“The car was accelerating through no fault of Paul,” said attorney
He contends Streater — who was unharmed aside from some bruises and scrapes — showed no signs of intoxication right after the crash, despite a blood sample including Difluoroethane, the main ingredient in Dust-Off, a brand name of compressed air canisters for cleaning computers and electronics.
Streater is charged with four felony counts of DUI manslaughter, four felony counts of vehicular homicide, and three misdemeanor charges of DUI causing or contributing to injury to person or property. The felonies are altogether punishable by up to 120 years in prison.
After pleading not guilty, Streater has remained in
A native of
Court battles heat up
In a major victory for the prosecution,
Also, the prosecution can tell the jury that Streater and
Halpern fears once the jury learns about the Dust-off, a guilty verdict is all but assured.
“Put another way, you can throw a skunk into the jury box and ask them not to smell it, but really, what good does that do?” he argued.
Streater’s lawyer argued that the inhalant produces only a short-term high of five to 20 minutes, yet stays in the blood for up to 22 hours. No cans of Dust-off were found in Streater’s truck.
Halpern says there is no indication the chemical in Streater’s blood had any role in the crash, and it is impossible to prove otherwise. He said the state’s toxicologist was unable to determine when or how the chemical was absorbed in Streater’s body.
The lawyer also pointed out Streater didn’t appear impaired when he spoke with officers and other witnesses. Halpern said Streater was wearing his seat belt and driving at proper speeds until less than a mile before the crash, when the Silverado suddenly raced out of control. Streater told police that his accelerator was stuck.
Streater has had some wins in court before his trial. That includes the judge’s decision to forbid witnesses from testifying that it was “the worst crash they have ever seen” or any other “hyperbole.” Also, among other details, jurors won’t be told that police found drug items, such as rolling papers and a spoon, inside Streater’s truck.
“I always think, how do they want to see me? I’m living, I’m working, I’m smiling, and I’m spending every day honoring their memory and making them be proud of me. They will never see me sad or destroyed or in a deep depression because I know the three of them are close to me.”
Martinez agreed with his therapist that he would honor his wife and children by going on a planned family vacation to
Martinez wore a T-shirt with the words “
Martinez also has established the
Martinez says it’s taken longer for him to accept the loss of his own children. “They died quite young, I miss them,” he said of Diego, who played on three soccer teams, and Mia, who loved to dance and sing. “Now a lot of people all over the world know about them, how we were a great family.”
Not long after the crash, Martinez hired a personal injury law firm to explore the possibility of a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Streater, the truck manufacturer and possibly others.
But Martinez says the matter was dropped after an investigation concluded there was no way to recover money.
For that reason, Streater’s side doesn’t want jurors to see “gruesome” photos from the crash scene.
“I know that this is a very emotional case, and we’re all human,” Halpern said. “Let’s just try to keep it to the facts, and not inflame people.”
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