Closing arguments conclude in racing death trial
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A jury could soon decide the fate of two young men accused of killing a mother and two children during a street race. It's been nearly a year since the deadly crash, but emotions are still fresh for the families involved.
Closing arguments finished Monday evening and the jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday morning. But what's at stake now are the futures of two young men who investigators say were racing on North Gessner when one of them hit and killed a mom and two kids in a minivan.
It has been 11 months since Christopher Yovino's Chevy Tahoe slammed into a minivan carrying Mayra Torres and her kids -- 15-year-old Christopher and 6-year-old Katia Nuno.
Prosecutors say Yovino was racing his friend Brett Taylor, going more than 90 miles per hour on a Monday afternoon.
Yovino was on the stand first. The defense was trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Yovino and Taylor weren't racing, weren't speeding excessively and didn't mean to kill Torres and her children.
It was exactly what Yovino told Eyewitness News just days after the accident last fall.
"Fifties, probably 55 miles per hour. Just a little bit," said Yovino in September 2010.
Traffic reconstructionists found the boys had been going 93 miles per hour in a posted 40 mph speed limit area -- something Brett Taylor denied on the stand.
Taylor said in court Monday, "My horsepower is at 145. The Tahoe is at 302, I believe. There's no way I can keep up with that."
Mayra Torres' family sat in court listening as Taylor talked about getting out of his pickup truck and first checking on his friend, then looking at the crushed minivan.
Defense: "What was your impression of what you saw?"
Taylor: "It was bad."
Defense: "Did you think the driver was alive?"
Taylor: (Pause) "No sir."
Torres and Christopher Nuno died at the scene. The little girl, Katia Nuno, died a day later at the hospital.
The prosecution, going for three manslaughter counts for each young man, pushed Taylor on their deaths, asking if he thought what happened on the day in September was wrong.
Prosecutor: "Would you agree with me going 90 mph at 4:45 on Gessner on a school day is reckless driving?"
Taylor: "Yes ma'am."
In closing arguments, the defense told the jury that the prosecution was demonizing Yovino and Taylor and that jurors could prevent a second tragedy from unfolding.
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