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Driver charged with murder in double fatal DUI
June 06, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Marjorie Reitzell

The intoxicated driver accused of killing a Menlo Park couple walking their dog and crashing into a car of teenagers before hitting a tree was ordered to stand trial on two counts of second-degree murder after prosecutors upgraded her original charges.

Marjorie Ann Reitzell, 54, had been charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of driving while under the influence causing injury. On Thursday before a preliminary hearing on the evidence, prosecutors changed the homicide charges to second-degree murder.

“An awful lot of work was done, reconstruction and investigation, and after looking into her background and where she’d been that day it led to the conclusion that we should go for the higher charge,” District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Reitzell has a long history of criminal convictions, including several drug-related, and a prior misdemeanor conviction of driving while under the influence from last November. She was on probation for that crime when she allegedly caused the death of Balbir and Kamal Singh, 50 and 45, respectively, just before 7 p.m. Oct. 24 as they walked their dog on Chilco Street in Menlo Park. Reitzell, who is on probation for a 2012 DUI conviction, reportedly struck the couple from behind as they walked on the paved shoulder before going over a center divider and hitting the second car head-on then coming to rest against a tree. The couple died at the scene and their Chihuahua was injured but survived. The four teenagers in the second car had minor injuries.

Reitzell’s blood alcohol content was .23 several hours after the incident.

After the preliminary hearing Thursday, Judge Barbara Mallach ordered Reitzell to stand trial on the murder and DUI charges. She returns to court June 20 to enter a Superior Court plea and potentially set a jury trial date.

Reitzell now faces 30 years to life if convicted.

She remains in custody on $2 million bail.

michelle@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

 

 

Tags: reitzell, second, before, after, trial, murder,


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