The California Supreme Court refused on Wednesday to review the case against a former Winnetka resident who penned a suicide note before driving recklessly along Pacific Coast Highway, crashing his car and killing a 13-year-old Malibu girl.
Sina Khankhanian was convicted of second-degree murder for the April 3, 2010, death of Emily Rose Shane.
In a July 16 ruling, a three-justice panel from the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that jurors were improperly instructed in Khankhanian’s trial.
“From the evidence that defendant was traveling at about 70 miles per hour when he made a deliberate sharp right turn, causing his car to drive up the embankment where Emily was walking, it is reasonable to infer that defendant intended to hit Emily as he proceeded towards the pole,” the justices’ 14-page ruling says.
The panel found that his statements afterward at the scene “all tend to show defendant intended to run Emily over with his car, knowing to a substantial certainty that the force would cause her death.”
But the appellate court panel ruled that Khankhanian — who is serving a 15-year-to-life term — should be re-sentenced on an enhancement attached to the murder count.
The weapon enhancement, which involves the use of the car, was run at the same time as the sentence on the murder count. But the justices agreed with the defense that the enhancement — which could add a year to the sentence — must either be imposed consecutively or stricken.
No date has been set yet for his re-sentencing.
Khankhanian left a suicide note and then drove along Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway for 17 miles as he zigzagged in traffic, passed on the shoulder, passed into oncoming traffic and forced other drivers into oncoming traffic before crashing into the teenager near Heathercliff Road, Deputy District Attorney Marna Miller said after Khankhanian’s sentencing.
The prosecutor noted there were “numerous near-collisions all along PCH” caused by Khankhanian, who was “driving so aggressively and erratically and recklessly” when he made a quick right turn and his Mitsubishi Galant left the road and hit the teenager head-on.
Khankhanian’s trial attorney, Bradley Brunon, said his client had “no criminal history of any kind” and his actions that day weren’t “the real Mr. Khankhanian,” who has a “long history of autism.”
He also maintained that there was “no direct evidence that Mr. Khankhanian intended to lose control of his car” or intentionally kill the girl.
Khankhanian was convicted by the second jury to hear the case against him. The first jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the case, prompting a mistrial in January 2012.
Khankhanian apologized to the victim’s family just before he was sentenced in June 2012, saying he was “deeply sorry” for the pain and grief he had caused them.
The girl’s father, Michel, told reporters that his family would always oppose parole for Khankhanian.
“My daughter died at 13 years old and let’s say she would have lived another 60 years. I want him to spend those 60 years (in prison),” he said.