A Santa Fe jury deliberated for less than two hours Monday before finding Mansoor Karimi guilty of vehicular homicide in the 2016 deaths of Ian Sweatt and Christopher Bryant after a fatal crash at the intersection of Camino Carlos Rey and Plaza Verde.
Karimi, 42, was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide due to reckless driving and a count of failure to render aid at the scene of the accident, in which police say he ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed Dec. 16, 2016, and collided with Bryant’s sedan.
Prosecutor Kent Walhquist said Karimi was driving his black BMW 61 mph in a 25 mph zone when he ran through the four-way stop and T-boned Bryant’s Chevrolet Colbalt, killing both men.
The trial lasted five days, during which jurors heard from an eye witness, who said Karimi had sped past him just before the crash, and New Mexico State Police crash reconstruction expert Stan Lundy, who said Bryant had stopped at the stop sign but Karimi had not.
Defense attorney Tom Clark challenged Lundy’s conclusion and other police work in the case — noting the state didn’t analyze Bryant’s cellphone until nearly two years after the crash.
Clark told jurors Bryant had alcohol and marijuana in his system when he died and might have been using his cellphone at the time of the crash, but his arguments were not enough to sway the jury of five women and seven men.
Karimi’s family cried out in anguish when the jury foreman read the verdict. And Karimi’s face contorted with emotion when state District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ordered him taken into custody, despite a request from Clark that he be allowed to remain free pending sentencing.
Karimi faces up to 12 years in prison.
The judge ordered a directed verdict Monday on the charge of failure to render aid, saying the state hadn’t presented enough evidence to prove that charge.
Clark said he intends to appeal the verdict following Karimi’s sentencing, which will take place after he undergoes a court-ordered 60-day diagnostic aimed at determining the most appropriate sentence for him.
Though he has a history of speeding citations, Karimi has no prior felony convictions.
“While disappointed in the verdict, I respect the jury process,” Clark said.