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The Orion

Man changes plea in hit-and-run case

Riley Dean Hoover. Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

The man facing charges for the hit-and-run that resulted in the death of Chico State student Kristina Chesterman last fall changed his plea Wednesday morning.

According to Mike Ramsey, the Butte County District Attorney, Hoover pleaded no contest to the felony counts Wednesday morning:

  • Driving under the influence causing injury
  • Leaving the scene of the accident

He also admitted to a special allegation of inflicting great bodily injury that led to the death of Kristina Chesterman.

In the plea agreement, the prosecution agreed to dismiss a separate case of his felony counts:

  • Transporting marijuana for sale
  • Manufacturing concentrated cannabis
  • Money laundering

Hoover will serve seven years in state prison, said Ramsey. His sentence date is Sept. 5.

Because Hoover has served time in county jail, the sentencing will be less than seven years, he said.

“He’s served almost a year waiting trail – he does get credit for that, so there will be six years left on his sentence,” said Ramsey.

The dropped drug charges saved Hoover three years in prison, he said. Hoover must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he can get out.

The decision was the best choice for the prosecution, Ramsey said. If Hoover was to be acquitted in a jury trial, his sentencing would be less severe.

“We walked out of that courtroom feeling defeated,” said Sandra Chesterman, Kristina Chesterman’s mother. “Im upset with the outcome based on the laws here in California.”

“Based on the option we had, it was a decision that made the most sense with what we had to work with. He took a life and I don’t feel that, in reality, five years or seven years is enough time for what he did.”

She said she felt It was important that Hoover went to state prison because county jail would be too easy for him.

“It was unfair that he admits he killed Kristina and decide his punishment,” she said. “I didn’t do that to my kids. I didn’t let them decide how they can be punished for pulling Kristina’s hair. It’s not fair he gets to decide, after killing my daughter, what is his punishment.”

Sandra Chesterman said the only good thing is that she can start to put that part of her daughter’s death behind her.

“On his sentencing day, I want him to know who Kristina was,” she said. “I want him to show me some remorse – there was nothing from him or his family. What I want most is for him to look at me because we stand from the back of the courtroom and I just want him to know how he has affected so many people.”

Christine Lee can be reached at: [email protected] or @leechris017 on Twitter.

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