SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Family and friends of popular Santa Barbara bartender Mallory Dies are speaking out after former congressional aide to Lois Capps, Raymond Morua, pleaded guilty to killing her while driving drunk.
Ryan Todey is a long time friend of Dies and her family. He just feet away from the 27-year-old the night she was struck and killed. He says the family knew about the terms of the plea deal and is satisfied with the outcome. Todey says the plea deal does bring some closure. But, forgiveness will take some time. Todey said about Morua, "He was a vet, he fought for our country and he was doing a lot of good things. But, he had some demons which led to this horrific accident. However, he has since taken a few steps to gain my respect by taking responsibility. Forgiveness is going to take a long time. "
Todey said the Dies family didn't want the case to go to trial because it likely wouldn't have ended in more jail time for Morua. Todey says there is surveillance video that captured the fatal crash on December 6, 2013 and the family couldn't bear to watch it played in court. "No mother or father wants to see their son or daughter being hit by a car that viciously."
On Tuesday, Dies family and friends were in court when Morua pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, and fleeing the scene of the crime. He also acknowledged two prior DUI convictions. Morua was an aide to Congresswoman Lois Capps at the time of the accident.
As part of the plea agreement, Morua will pay restitution, and participate in an anti-DUI video, which Dies father is expected to also take part in, and issue a formal apology to the family.
Dies family and friends will be in court on May 28th when Morua is expected to be formally sentenced. He could get up to 20 years in prison. Dies father is also expected to read a victims impact statement during the sentencing.
In the meantime, Dies family and friends are moving forward with a charity in her honor, 'Vow 4 Mal,' which aims to educate and prevent people from drunk driving.