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No plea deal discussions for driver suspected in fatal Santa Rosa crosswalk crash

Prosecutors are refusing to enter into discussions of a possible plea bargain in the case of a Santa Rosa man accused of killing a 4-year-old boy in a hit-and-run crosswalk crash.

Prosecutors said Wednesday they are unwilling to negotiate with Marcos Lopez Garcia, 22, who is charged in the Aug. 18 death of Christopher "Buddy" Rowe.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Cohan declined in court Wednesday to meet privately with Garcia's lawyer, Walter Rubenstein, to discuss the charges, which carry a three-year prison sentence if he is convicted.

Boy Hit In Santa Rosa Crosswalk

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Rubenstein asked for an in-chambers meeting with Cohan and Judge Ken Gnoss to avoid discussions in front of the boy's parents, who were in the audience.

Rubenstein suggested the case may not be so clear cut. Outside of court he said he hoped for a plea bargain that would limit Garcia's jail time to one year. He said recent manslaughter cases were negotiated privately.

But it appears the case will go to trial. Garcia has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Both sides will appear Thursday before Judge Virginia Marcoida who is expected to schedule the case for a preliminary hearing.

Garcia, a pizza parlor cook, is accused of hitting Rowe as he walked in a West Ninth Street crosswalk with his mother and sisters.

Police said Garcia drove away but was arrested later in the day after his car was identified by a witness.

He's remained in jail without bail on a federal immigration hold. Court records show he was convicted of driving without a license in 2010. A week before the fatal crash, he was cited again for the same offense.


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