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Hit-and-run driver who killed single mom sentenced

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SAN DIEGO — A motorist who left the scene after fatally injuring a 27-year-old mother as she tried to cross Nimitz Boulevard in Ocean Beach was sentenced Wednesday to three years probation and ordered to do 15 days of public work service.

Zaid Naoom, 23, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to felony hit-and-run in the June 21, 2014, death of Amber Schei.

“When you killed my daughter, you took a piece of me,” Todd Schei told the defendant in court.

The victim’s father — who was not happy with the plea bargain — reminded Naoom that he left his 11-year-old granddaughter without a mother.

Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Zipp told Judge Michael Groch that based on the evidence and the ability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the plea bargain was a just resolution.

As part of the plea bargain, Naoom’s felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor if he successfully completes probation. The felony conviction can also be reduced after two years in Naoom earns his bachelor’s degree.

Groch told the defendant to refrain from using drugs and warned him that he could serve a year in jail if he violates any terms of probation.

Defense attorney Richard Katzman told the victim’s family that Amber was responsible for her own death.

He said the victim had methamphetamine, amphetamines and marijuana in her system when she was hit about 2 a.m.

Katzman said the victim was wearing dark clothing and was jaywalking across Nimitz Boulevard when she was struck and died instantly. It wasn’t clear if Schei was riding her skateboard when she was hit.

Naoom — who said he fled the scene because he was scared — called Katzman’s office four days after the accident and the attorney arranged for police to look at his client’s car.

The defendant was arrested in May. Zipp said Naoom had marijuana with him when he was taken into custody.

The victim’s mother, Tammy Wilson, had Naoom face her while she spoke in court.

Wilson read a letter from her mother, the victim’s grandmother.

“You took her (Amber’s) life in the most heinous way, and left her to die,” the grandmother wrote.

The grandmother said that Naoom “just drove away, like she was a speed- bump on the road.”

The victim’s body wasn’t discovered until four or five hours after the early morning accident.

“You could have helped her. You took her life,” one of Amber’s aunts said.

The victim’s stepmother, Susan Schei, read a letter from Amber Schei’s daughter.

“Why did you kill my mom?” the daughter wrote. “Why did you leave her on the side of the road?”

Susan Schei said it was hard to see the defendant walk out of the courtroom a free man after sentencing.

“Now I have to go back to her (Amber’s) daughter, and now I have to say the man who killed your mom, went home. And it’s unbearable,” she said.

6 comments

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  • Emmett McMahon

    So it seems that if you run people over in the middle of the night that it’s o.k. Don’t worry about or make any calls for someone to check the victim out. Hell, the victim might have been on drugs or was drunk and it’s fine to run them over. Just ask any shit headed defense lawyer. It’s apparent the people in San Diego care less, it was not them who were affected. They have the moral values of an old stinky alley cat.

  • William Brown

    I’m stunned beyond belief. If I ever get arrested, I pray I get this Judge. Amazing justice system.

  • A druggie got hit while jay walking at night and a hit and run.

    Whole thing is sad but the sentence is close to fair. Both were wrong and both get fair punishment considering the circumstances.

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