Kitchen defense will call expert witnesses

Paul Mann
Mad River Union

EUREKA – Marci Kitchen’s defense team will summon expert witnesses to testify at her jury trial on multiple charges of hit-and-run vehicular manslaughter.

Although Eureka attorney Patrik Griego did not disclose the nature of the expertise at Kitchen’s arraignment May 25, his line of questioning at his client’s preliminary hearing suggests the approach he will take.

Marci Maelinda Kitchen

The trial date is to be announced June 13.

As Kitchen was arraigned and fingerprinted, co-counsel Griego said he needed time to organize expert witnesses. At the preliminary hearing, he took aim at the California Highway Patrol investigation for lack of analysis of speed rate/time/distance calculations; road, visibility and lighting conditions; and the presence of pedestrian/vehicle traffic, among other factors.

Kitchen is accused of killing two 14-year-old girls, one of them her daughter, in a collision in July on Eel River Road on the outskirts of Fortuna.

Her daughter Kiya and her daughter’s close friend Faith Tsarnas died when Kitchen allegedly slammed into the skateboarding teenagers from behind at a high rate of speed, throwing both 300 feet or more. She was driving a 2015 Jeep Wrangler which weighs 3,700 to 4,300 pounds.

Kitchen is accused of drunken driving, fleeing the scene and related charges. She pleaded not guilty to all of them and is free on $750,000 bail, as she has been since she turned herself in September after a long delay.

Her son and a family friend have alleged that Kitchen admitted shortly afterward to hitting the girls and killing them both. Tsarnas died at the scene, Kiya Kitchen at Oakland Children’s Hospital.


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