Trial begins for ex-Marine accused of killing two UCSD med students in DUI crash

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Opening statements began Tuesday morning in the trial of a Miramar-based marine accused of killing two UCSD medical students in a DUI crash.

If convicted, Jason Riley King, 24, faces up to 44 years in prison. Charges against King include second-degree murder and DUI.

The 2015 crash killed 23-year-old Madison Cornwell and 24-year-old Li Baldock.

A prosecutor said Tuesday that King should be convicted of murder because he knew the dangers of drinking and driving but chose to drive anyway.

"He (King) was warned of the consequences of driving impaired but he chose to do it anyway," the prosecutor told the jury.

RELATED: Judge refuses to dismiss 2nd-degree murder charges against Marine

According to earlier testimony, several people told King he was too drunk to drive, but he got behind the wheel anyway, driving the wrong way on State Route 163 and crashing into the Prius.

The crash inspired a new law in the state of California that will require all bartenders and servers to take a class on how to spot someone who’s had too much to drink.

Following the crash, classmates of the victims worked with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) on assembly bill 1221, also know as the Responsible Beverage Service Training Program Act of 2017.

The law was approved by Governor Jerry Brown on October 15, 2017 and goes into effect July 1, 2021.

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