Although she didn’t speak in court when sentenced to 10 years in prison, the young woman described as an excellent student and outstanding athlete with no criminal record “accepted full responsibility for her actions” that killed a Saugus mother of six, her lawyer said Monday.
Alexia Alilah Cina, 21, appeared Friday in San Fernando Superior Court, where she was told to serve the next 10 years of her life behind bars.
She pleaded no contest last month to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in a fatal crash that took place Oct. 6, 2017. The crash killed Katie Evans, a Saugus mother of six.
“She has accepted full responsibility for her actions, and is deeply remorseful for the loss of life, the future damage caused to the husband, the family and the children of Mrs. Evans,” attorney James E. Blatt said Monday.
“At the same point in time, the Evans family and their religious family have reached out to Cina and her family, to express their sadness,” he said, referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Blatt, a veteran lawyer who has served on both sides of the courtroom, including almost three years as a deputy district attorney, called Friday’s hearing unusual.
After having practiced law for more than four decades, Blatt said he learned something Friday through the mutual compassion and forgiveness expressed in court.
“It was a very moving and unusual sentencing,” he said. “The Evans family not only shared a celebration of life (for Katie Evans) but also showed a deep compassion for Alexia.”
“This was about forgiveness and compassion,” he said. “There weren’t a lot of dry eyes.”
“(Cina’s) parents were deeply appreciative that the Evans clergy reached out to them to console them,” he said. “That entire community showed compassion.”
Cina was driving southbound on Golden Valley Road at a high rate of speed Oct. 6, 2017, when she hit the center median and crashed into Evans’ vehicle on the northbound side of the road, prosecutors have maintained since her arrest.
The Evans family, led by Katie’s husband Jacob, and their religious supporters expected a fair sentence — and a fair sentence, according to Blatt, was found in 10 years’ prison time.
“(Jacob Evans and supporters) indicated they wanted her to accept responsibility and that for her sentence to be a deterrent,” he said. “They didn’t want her extended life to be destroyed.”
Blatt, who according to his biography posted online, was raised ”to stand up for what he believed in, to be tough, determined but caring, and always stressed a deep loyalty to family,” reflected on the prison term accepted by his client in a plea deal made with prosecutors.
“She received a fair sentence,” he said Monday. “She looks forward to serving her time and, eventually, to lead the most productive and moral life that she can.”
About Katie Evans, he said her loss cannot be replaced, calling her “one of kind” and a remarkable woman.