Raymond Morua, the man accused of a fatal DUI accident in Santa Barbara, appeared in court Wednesday.
Police said the former congressional aide to Lois Capps was behind the wheel of an SUV when he struck and killed 27-year-old Mallory Rae Dies on December 6, 2013. He then fled the scene of the crime, according the charges.
A new lawyer has taken over Morua's case. DUI specialist Darryl Genis will be representing him. Because of the change of attorney, Wednesday's arraignment was continued to Feb. 12.
Genis says his client knows what happened to Dies is his fault, and he will be paying the consequences but doesn't believe it should be without financial help from his former boss, Capps. Genis says Morua was on the job when the accident happened, just after a holiday party in Santa Barbara, and that Capps should be giving the Dies family compensation.
"He had a head full of alcohol and it caused him to make some really bad decisions," Genis said. "Miss Capps was stone-cold sober when she lied and said that he was not working for her at the time of this accident, she has no excuse."
Capps and her staff fired back with an email to NewsChannel 3 saying, "Morua was not representing the Congresswoman at the Independent holiday party."
FULL STATEMENT FROM CONGRESSWOMAN LOIS CAPPS
"Raymond Morua was not representing the Congresswoman at the Independent holiday party. A many know, the annual gathering is a widely attended event that brings together hundreds of people from around Santa Barbara, and Raymond was there on his own time and of his own volition. Although the Congresswoman hopes all of her employees will behave responsibly and professionally at all times, she does not have control over their actions when they are on their own personal time. Because this is a pending legal matter, the Congresswoman cannot and will not litigate this matter in the press and therefore will not comment further at this time. Once again, Congresswoman Capps believes this has been a terrible tragedy and her heart goes out to the Dies Family."
Family and friends of Dies were in the courtroom Wednesday and say they will continue to show up no matter how painful the experience is.
"As a father, I have to be here," Dies' father, Matthew Dies, said. "I'd rather be anywhere else in the world. I'd rather not be embroiled in what we're embroiled in. I'd rather have my daughter back."
Mallory Dies' friends have created the Vow4Mal Foundation to raise funds and fight drunken driving. A community golf tournament has been organized for Jan. 27 at Sandpiper Golf Course, in Goleta. For more information visit the Mallory Rae Support Facebook page.