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Santa Rosa real estate agent gets 6 months in jail for striking, killing pedestrian

  • 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 who killed a pedestrian in a hit-and-run crash near Spring Lake was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail.

Steven Harry Heath, 60, faced a maximum of three years in prison for the Feb. 27 accident that killed George Black, 64, of Pacifica, as he walked along Montgomery Drive.

Heath ran into him and didn't stop, claiming he didn't know he had hit anyone. He contacted a lawyer the next day when he read about the death in the newspaper.

Hit-And-Run Crash Near Spring Lake

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He turned himself in March 1 and pleaded no contest in April to vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash.

On Wednesday, he apologized to Black's ex-wife, Susan Kitchell, who appeared in court to read statements from Black's 16-year-old son, Black's brother and herself.

Black, described by friends as a former political science professor, had been visiting Santa Rosa at the time of the crash.

"I'm going to have to live with this the rest of my life, as are you," said Heath, his voice cracking with emotion.

Probation Department officials recommended a one-year jail sentence and Heath's lawyer asked for 90 days with electronic home confinement. Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite gave him six months, citing his lack of a criminal record, his early plea and his expression of remorse.

"There has to be some punishment aspect to this," Thistlethwaite said.

Prosecutor Bob Waner said he wasn't seeking prison because the victim's family didn't ask for it.


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