Teen free pending appeal in deaths of Tongan royalty

A Redwood City teen convicted in June of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the 2006 crash deaths of three people on U.S. Highway 101 may remain out of jail until at least the end of 2008 while her attorneys pursue an appeal of her sentence, Deputy District Attorney Aaron Fitzgerald said today.

Edith Delgado, 19, who remains free on $100,000 bail pending a decision on her appeal, appeared briefly in court this morning with her family, as attorneys discussed the status of the appeal. She was ordered to return to court May 8 for a further appeal status hearing.

Delgado was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court on Aug. 24 to serve two years in county jail for causing a rollover crash July 5, 2006, on U.S. Highway 101 in Menlo Park that killed Tongan royal family members Prince Tu’ipelehake, 54; Princess Kaimana Tu’ipelehake, 45; and their driver, Vinisia Hefa, 36.

Judge John Runde ordered Delgado to serve consecutive sentences for the three victims.

Delgado had already served about 11 months in jail since the crash, and with additional credits for good behavior, stands to serve only five to six more months in jail, according to Fitzgerald.

Delgado’s attorneys have appealed the sentence, arguing that consecutive sentencing for a misdemeanor is not compliant with state law, and that Delgado should not have to serve any more time in jail.

Fitzgerald said after the hearing that he had been contacted by the attorney handling the case in the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, who informed him that a decision was expected by the end of 2008.

If Delgado’s appeal is denied, her attorneys can pursue a review of the decision by the state Supreme Court.

— Bay City News

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