PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
PAT_5894

JOSHUA McCAVITT goes over notes with his attorney Arturo Reyes during the trial. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

News

McCavitt found guilty

By From page A1 | February 10, 2014

A guilty verdict was handed Friday to a man accused the 2012 vehicular murder of a Camino woman.

A deliberating jury returned two guilty verdicts Friday morning after three hours of deliberation over two days — vehicular murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated — in the case of Joshua McCavitt.

McCavitt sobbed and put his head in his hands after the first verdict was read. After both were read, defense attorney Arturo Reyes asked that the jury be polled. The jury was unanimous in the verdicts.

“It was an accident,” McCavitt said from the defense table. “I’m sorry, whatever the outcome. I didn’t want anyone to die.”

He was then chained and handcuffed. As he began walking out, his brother, in the audience, called out, “I love you, Josh.” McCavitt replied, “I love you, bro.”

As he was being led through a side door out of the courtroom, he yelled, “She was on hydrocodone,” to members of victim Denise Caldwell’s family. This had not been in evidence in the trial.

Robert Guth, Caldwell’s brother, was happy with the outcome of the two-week trial. “I’m glad a fair and just verdict was returned by the jury,” he said.

Caldwell’s family as a whole echoed the statement, collectively saying that they appreciated the work of the District Attorney’s Office, prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Michael Pizzuti and the CHP in their help to achieve justice.

“I think it was a just result. And that last thing he said …” Pizzuti trailed off, regarding McCavitt’s lack of remorse.

Kimithy Hassel, Caldwell’s best friend for 19 years, said that her friend had warned her about the very curve she lost her life on. “‘Kimmy,’ she’d say, ‘that corner, don’t forget to slow down, it’s dangerous,’” Hassel recalled. “She told me to only got 20 mph.” She noted that Caldwell was like a mother to Gared, Hassel’s son.

“This is the exact type of behavior that will not be tolerated in our community,” District Attorney Vern Pierson stated in a press release regarding the verdict. “Cases such as these which involve repeat DUI offenders and death or great bodily harm are assigned to our grant funded Vertical Prosecution Team. This team of specialized prosecutors and investigators has once again proven the effectiveness of this grant when prosecuting complex DUI cases.

“Though nothing can change the tragic events of that day or relieve the family’s loss,” Pierson added, “it is my hope the guilty verdict can give the family a sense of closure and begin the healing process.”

Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Pizzuti noted the vehicular murder charge carries a life sentence with a possibility of parole after 15 years. This subsumes the second charge, he said.

A judgment and sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 21 at 1:30 p.m.

Cole Mayer

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