Drunk driver guilty of murder for killing mother

Posted at 10:43 AM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 15:18:03-05
SAN DIEGO -- A repeat DUI offender who drove drunk and fatally struck a mother of three who was out for a walk in the Lake Murray/San Carlos area last summer pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.
Joshua Daniel Taylor, 38, is expected to be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on April 19.
San Diego police Officer Jason Costanza testified in December that Taylor showed signs of impairment when he spoke with the motorist on the side of the road after the 6:20 p.m. collision last Aug. 13 that took the life of 38-year-old Rocio Leamon.
A witness saw Taylor -- who had prior DUI convictions from 1996 and 2000 -- throw something in the bushes following the collision, and a bottle of vodka was recovered, Costanza testified.
"When he went out there that day, he drove with a blood-alcohol level of a .25 to a .27 (percent), ran through that intersection, crushed and killed Ms. Leamon," said Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott.
"He was in a different position than most people in society," the prosecutor said. "He'd been through the system, convicted twice. He knew how dangerous it was to do what he did and he did it anyway."
After Taylor was arrested, he told Costanza that he had been arrested for DUI before and had completed an 18-month class regarding the dangers of drinking and driving, the officer said.
When asked if he took anything from the class, Taylor responded, "Apparently not," Costanza testified.
Asked if he knew the dangers of drinking and driving, Taylor replied, "It's common sense," according to the officer.
Schott said Leamon was walking to Cowles Mountain on Aug. 13 when she stopped at the intersection of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive and pushed the button to wait for the walk sign.
Fifteen seconds after the victim entered the intersection, Taylor drove through against a red light -- going between 44-59 mph in a 50 mph zone -- striking Leamon and carrying her 57 feet before she landed face-down on the pavement, the prosecutor said. She was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.