Jan 3, 2023
A teenage Lamborghini SUV driver who caused a high-speed crash that killed a 32-year-old woman in February was sentenced on Thursday. The fatal car accident led to numerous protests from the victim’s family and supporters alleging the teenager – son of high-profile millionaire James Khuri – received special treatment by authorities.
The teen driver, whose name was not released because of his age, had previously admitted to felony vehicular manslaughter in April. Juvenile Court Judge Sabina A. Helton handed down the sentence during a disposition hearing at the Inglewood Courthouse. The teen driver was sentenced to nine months in what local ABC 7 reported was a “rigorous juvenile camp” as well as four years of probation.
The teenager was determined to be street racing by authorities when the fatal crash occurred on February 17 near Olympic Boulevard and Overland Avenue. The Lamborghini SUV was traveling at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour when it struck Monique Munoz’s Lexus, nearly splitting the vehicle in half and killing her at the scene.
When the hearing began last Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Kelly Kraetsch asked Judge Helton to sentence the teen to a juvenile camp. The defendant’s defense attorney, Mark Werksman, requested that his client be placed in a private program.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Thursday’s sentencing drew demonstrations outside the Inglewood Juvenile Court building from Munoz’s friends and family. Supporters of the victim said the teen should spend time in a county juvenile camp for the fatal crash, arguing that probation would be an injustice, according to the L.A. Times.
“House arrest in a mansion is not punishment,” Cynthia Crespin, one of Munoz’s cousins, said in court last week. “He took an innocent life in a careless and senseless way.”
Another cousin of Munoz, Shawna Rodriguez, told Judge Helton that the teenager “deserves the maximum sentence.'”
Shortly after the February crash, Munoz’s uncle, Richard Cartier, said, “I’m looking for this kid to actually get what he deserves.” “He murdered my niece and he had no remorse for any life of any kind and he showed it.”
The Los Angeles Times confirmed that the teenage driver’s father, James Khuri, is “a multimillionaire who owns several real estate firms and an e-commerce business.”
Khuri had spoken out about the fatal car crash involving his son earlier this year via Instagram. As we noted in an earlier blog, James Khuri had also previously posted pictures to social media with him and his son next to their respective Lamborghinis. One such post included the caption, “My son and I hanging out cruising in the Hills. Everyone knows who’s [sic] car is faster.” In another post, Khuri wrote, “Fun Friday afternoon racing another Lamborghini SVJ on Sunset. Of course going speed limit.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that the teenager had been cited twice for driving at excessive speeds prior to the fatal crash that killed Monique Munoz. His driver’s license was suspended at the time of the February incident. Additionally, the L.A. Times confirmed that Los Angeles Police Department officials testified that the teen had posted on social media about engaging in “drifting” and other street racing activity in the weeks prior to the fatal car crash.
Judge Helton noted the teenage driver’s history of reckless driving, stating that there had been a “consistent lack of accountability” in his life, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Additionally, the judge noted at sentencing that the teen’s parents had actually paid to have his Lamborghini taken out of impound in the weeks leading up to the fatal crash. As the Los Angeles Times reported, Judge Helton questioned whether or not the teen’s parents “could provide the kind of oversight needed to correct his past behavior.”
“[The driver] needs to be held accountable the same as any other kid who appears in this court,” Judge Helton said.
Before the nine-month juvenile camp sentence was issued, Munoz’s relatives spoke in the courtroom and asked the judge to hand down the maximum penalty. Munoz’s mother, Carol Cardona, issued a tearful appeal.
“I’m going to ask the court that we get justice for my daughter; she deserves that much,” Cardona said. “My life is not the same, nor will it ever be.“
If he had been convicted of vehicular manslaughter as an adult, the teen driver could have faced a maximum sentence of six years in state prison.
The teen apologized to Munoz’s family before the sentencing. “Please know that I am so deeply sorry from the bottom of my heart,” he said while visibly emotional.
“I realize my suffering does not even come close to what you have gone through,” he added. “I was a spoiled, reckless 17-year-old who thought I was invincible.”
Despite being sentenced to the maximum penalty possible through Juvenile Court, some of Munoz’s family members stated that they did not believe the teen’s apology was sincere and, as the Los Angeles Times reported, he should have been tried as an adult.
“I call it the lollipop sentence and going to Camp Snoopy,” said Munoz’s uncle, Richard Cartier. Cartier also told reporters he believed the teen should have received a sentence of “50 years so he’ll never drive again and he’ll understand the consequences of what he’s done.‘”
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