Courtney Fritz Pandolfi pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2020 killing of Yesenia Lisette Aguilar, who was eight months pregnant at the time
A woman who has three convictions for driving under the influence has now pleaded guilty to murder in the 2020 vehicular killing of an eight-months-pregnant pedestrian, according to multiple reports.
Courtney Fritz Pandolfi, 44, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder for hitting 23-year-old Yesenia Lisette Aguilar with her vehicle and killing her, The Orange County Register and ABC 7 and KTLA reported.
Aguilar, who was about 35 weeks pregnant, was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead, police said at the time. The vehicle narrowly missed Aguilar's husband, James Alvarez, who was uninjured.
Doctors were able to deliver her baby via cesarean section, and the newborn girl — named Adalyn Rose — was hospitalized in critical condition for three weeks, KTLA reported at the time.
Pandolfi had been convicted of DUI three times between 2008 and 2016, per authorities, the outlet reported. She received warnings about the risk of a murder charge each time, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said, per KTLA.
“This was not an accident. This is a woman who made a habit of driving while high,” Spitzer said, the outlet reported.
On Tuesday, Rose – now three years old – accompanied her father to the courtroom, FOX 11 reported.
Alvarez said in a moving testimony that he is ready to move forward, ABC 7 reported.
"It's been a long three years," he said, holding his daughter, per the outlet.
"I am just thankful that you finally took the responsibility for your actions," he said, addressing Pandolfi directly.
“It has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. At least now I am able to move forward and heal from this,” he said, per The Orange County Register.
Pandolfi’s defense attorney Frederick Fascenelli said that upon learning about the details of the incident and its aftermath, his client did not want to put Aguilar's family through a trial, The Orange County Register reported.
In addition to the murder charge, Pandolfi has also pleaded guilty to one felony count of driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury with two or more priors, two misdemeanor counts of driving on a suspended license, one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs and one misdemeanor count of possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, according to authorities, KTLA and ABC 7 reported.
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