Witnesses testify in trial for Marine accused of deadly DUI crash

SAN DIEGO – Testimony in a trial for a former Miramar-based Marine who allegedly drove drunk and caused a head-on freeway crash that killed two UCSD medical students ended Wednesday afternoon.

Jason Riley King, 21, faces two counts of murder.

The prosecution alleges in May of 2015, King drove his Ford F-350 pickup truck the wrong way on state Route 163 after a night of drinking and crashed head-on into a Prius driven by 23-year-old Madison Cornwell. Twenty-four-year-old Anne Li Baldock was in the passenger seat. Both women were killed instantly.

Three others in the back seat were seriously injured but survived.

A CHP officer testified about data he collected to determine details about the crash.

"The driver of the Prius, at the last possible moment, saw what was happening and steered the steering wheel and came off the accelerator pedal," he said.

The defense argued that King did not commit murder but vehicular manslaughter, arguing that the young Marine did not have true knowledge of consequences.

A DUI safety school director who treats repeat drunk drivers testified that many young people do not have pre-existing knowledge that they could kill someone when drinking and driver, “every person that initially comes into the program is in denial. A college course will not bring out the discussion.”

The final witness was from King’s hometown in Oklahoma. She described a small town with only one stoplight and no freeways.

The jury will get instructions Thursday morning and hear closing arguments before beginning deliberations.

King faces 42 years in prison if found guilty of all charges.