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Weller Defense Begins in Farmers’ Market Trial:

The criminal manslaughter trial of George Russell Weller, who drove through the downtown Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on Arizona Avenue in July 2003, leaving ten persons dead and more than 60 injured, moved to the presentation of the defense case last Thursday, September 28.

The defense called UCLA psychology professor Richard Schmidt, who specializes in motor function and control, and retired California Highway Patrol officer Thomas Shelton, who investigated 8,000 traffic accidents, to testify about “pedal error” – the condition that, according to Weller, makes the tragedy an accident without criminal consequences.  The district attorney’s office argues that Weller, now 89, acted with gross negligence while attempting to get away from an earlier fender-bender, subjecting him to criminal liability for vehicular manslaughter. 

The trial began September 12 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, and it is expected to go to the jury within the next couple of weeks. 

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