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Court date postponed again in vehicular manslaughter case

By: Penne Usher, Journal Staff Writer
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Delays in a case of vehicular manslaughter are proving taxing for the prosecution as well as the victim's mother. Anna Berset, 50, of Folsom, stands accused of running down and killing 15-year-old Granite Bay teen Courtney Parker last year. Berset has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Berset was in an Auburn courtroom Wednesday for what was to be a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to hold her over for trial. Berset's attorney, Craig Leri, was not present and the case had to be postponed. The delay did not set well with the prosecution. We were prepared to proceed Feb. 11, said Jeff Wilson, deputy district attorney for Placer County. I want the record to be clear. We had witnesses ready to testify today. Wilson said he was notified late Tuesday that Leri had been involved in a car accident and wouldn't be able to attend the hearing. The case is expected to be heard by Judge Larry D. Gaddis in mid-May. The collision occurred June 13, 2007, north of Douglas Boulevard just before 10 p.m. Courtney L. Parker was walking along the right shoulder of Auburn-Folsom Road at the time of the accident. She was declared brain dead soon after the hit-and-run incident. Parker died two days later. The victim's mother, Nancy Parker, along with a few friends, were in court Wednesday wearing T-shirts bearing a peace sign and the image of Courtney Parker. This is extremely frustrating, Nancy Parker said Wednesday outside the courtroom. You have to have a mind set to (make it through) a preliminary hearing. Witnesses said Courtney had been with friends at the Taco Bell restaurant on the corner of Auburn-Folsom Road and Douglas Boulevard earlier in the evening. Friends said the group left the restaurant and were walking northbound on Auburn-Folsom when Parker remembered she had left her cell phone at the restaurant and went back with another girl when she was struck by a black sport utility vehicle that fled the scene. Berset reportedly called the California Highway Patrol the following day to report that she may have struck Courtney during her drive between Auburn and Folsom. Berset's son was responsible for an eerily similar fatal crash in 1999. Joshua Sanguinetti was convicted of drunk driving and hit-and-run for a Dec. 10, 1999 crash, also on Auburn-Folsom Road, which resulted in the death of 15-year-old Rob Wyatt. Wyatt's sister, Jennifer Wyatt, was seriously injured in the collision. Sanguinetti was sentenced to more than seven years in prison. Berset faces up to four years in prison if found guilty of the charges of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. The Journal's Penne Usher can be reached at penneu@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment at auburnjournal.com.