Crime, Fire + Courts

Second jury hangs in hit-run accessory case; charges dismissed

By From page A1 | March 11, 2012

Lorin Warren. Enterprise file photo

Lorin Warren. Enterprise file photo

Yolo County prosecutors scrapped their case against a Dixon man Friday after a second jury leaned toward acquitting him of charges that he aided his daughter following a 2007 hit-and-run collision.

The six-man, six-woman jury deliberated for nearly two days before declaring itself deadlocked 11-1 in favor of finding Lorin Warren not guilty of being an accessory to a felony.

“This is a great day for Lorin Warren, his family and the criminal justice system,” Kellin Cooper, Warren’s defense attorney, said in a phone interview following a Friday afternoon court hearing in which the accessory charge was dismissed. “An innocent person has finally been exonerated.”

Deputy District Attorney Clinton Parish, who prosecuted the case, declined to comment.

The case stemmed from an Aug. 27, 2007, hit-and-run collision in which Davis motorcyclists Jonathan Pinkerton and Kyle Daubert were injured after a maroon Chevy Tahoe struck Pinkerton from behind as the men took an evening ride on rural Russell Boulevard west of Davis.

Witnesses said Pinkerton’s motorcycle became lodged underneath the Tahoe, and the driver dragged the bike for nearly a mile while fleeing the scene. Pinkerton spent the next 17 days in a hospital trauma unit.

California Highway Patrol officers seized the damaged Tahoe about a week later in Winters, where it was being repaired by an unlicensed mechanic hired by Lorin Warren. Yolo County prosecutors alleged that Warren made the arrangement to protect his daughter Noelle Marie Warren, who was known to drive the sport-utility vehicle, from being linked to the hit-and-run.

A jury last summer convicted 27-year-old Noelle Warren of felony hit-and-run, and she was sentenced in December to three years in state prison. The same jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquitting Lorin Warren, leading to a mistrial and a decision by the DA’s Office to try the case a second time.

Lorin Warren, 54, has claimed his daughter told him the Tahoe had struck a tree. Cooper, his attorney, set his sights on the CHP, which he said had a “one-sided” view of the evidence in the case.

“They had a belief that Lorin Warren must be guilty, and they tailored (the investigation) to fit their theory,” Cooper said Friday. He added that the Warren family “continues to believe that their daughter is completely innocent.”

Jonathan Pinkerton’s family released a statement Friday acknowledging the challenges the jury faced.

“A case like this is very difficult, especially one that has gone on for so long. The burden of proof is enormous for the prosecutor,” the family said. “We are grateful for the tireless efforts of Deputy District Attorney, Clint Parish. We also appreciate the hard work of the jury, who clearly took their task seriously and conscientiously.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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