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Santa Rosa real estate agent pleads no contest in Spring Lake hit-run death

  • Steven Heath appears with his attorney Stephen Gallenson, left, in Superior Court 9 of the Hon. Jamie Thistlethwaite at the Sonoma county Courthouse in Santa Rosa on March 6, 2013, on charges of hit-and-run that resulted in a death.

A Santa Rosa real estate agent pleaded no contest Friday to being the driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian in February on Montgomery Drive near Spring Lake.

Steven Harry Heath, 60, faces up to four years in prison in the death of Pacifica political science professor George Black, 64.

His sentencing is June 5.

Hit-And-Run Crash Near Spring Lake

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Heath, who is out on bail, appeared before Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite. The judge noted his pre-trial plea included no promises of leniency. Asked if he understood, Heath replied, "Yes, your honor."

Heath declined to comment outside court. His lawyer, Steve Gallenson, said his client felt the plea was "the right thing to do."

"He feels horrible about what happened to Mr. Black and can't imagine the pain he's caused his family and son," Gallenson said.

Prosecutor Bob Waner said his office has not yet decided whether it will seek a prison sentence for Heath.

Waner said he would review a Probation Department recommendation and speak to the victim's family before taking a position.

Heath could receive anything from probation to four years in prison.

"It's a very serious matter," Waner said after the hearing.


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