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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Man guilty of DUI killing sentenced

Kristina Chesterman's immediate family stands in front of the Butte County Superior Court with their friends and family. Photo credit: Christine Lee

Riley Dean Hoover, 20, appeared in court Friday for his sentencing, facing family and friends of Kristina Chesterman, the Chico State nursing student he killed in September.

Kristina Chesterman's friends wear pink and carry photos of her to show support outside the Butte County Superior Court. Photo credit: Christine Lee

Chesterman’s family and friends wore pink shirts and ties in remembrance of her because they said it was her favorite color. They each held a single pink rose and carried piles of printed photos of Chesterman, which they raised in the air once Hoover entered the courtroom.

Sandra Chesterman, Kristina Chesterman’s mother, asked Hoover in court to face her and if he had any remorse for which he replied, “I do.”

“I see Kristina in the front of your car after you slammed into her,” Sandra Chesterman said. “I wonder if she was scared, if she was in pain. Did she know you would leave her alone? Did she cry for me? Did she wonder who was doing this to her?”

She said she’s certain about one thing which is that her daughter has forgiven him. The only physical thing she had left of her daughter was the ashes in the jar she brought to the court house, she said.

“She had compassion beyond belief,” she said. “Maybe when this is over, you and your family can take a page from her book without cheating your way through it.”

Dave Chesterman and Daniel Chesterman, Kristina Chesterman's father and brother, speak to media outside the Butte County Superior Court, Sept. 5. Photo credit: Christine Lee

Chesterman’s friends, brother and father took turns to speak to Hoover and his attorney, Clyde Blackmon.

“I am outraged at the thought of you going on with your life after prison,” said Dave Chesterman, Kristina Chesterman’s father. “Five years in prison is an insult to our family.”

He said he resented Blackmon’s claim that he had no pleasure in defending cases like these. Blackmon has had 45 years of experience and they were all spent defending guilty people which is indefensible, he said.

“Shame on you, Clyde,” he said. “Unlike your client, you are old enough to know better.”

Riley Dean Hoover was found guilty on the felony counts:

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

He was also charged with the special allegation of inflicting great bodily injury that eventually led to the death of Chesterman.

When Hoover pleaded no contest to the above counts on Aug. 20, the prosecution agreed to dismiss the separate case of his felony counts:

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

Hoover was given 401 days towards custody credits and must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole. He also must pay a restitution fee of $161,388.04.

Bailey Sanders, Chico State junior business major, was Chesterman's roommate the year she passed away. Photo credit: Christine Lee

Bailey Sanders, Chico State junior business major, said she was glad Hoover turned around to face Chesterman’s family and friends.

“I wished he said something,” she said. “Sandra’s right – he’s a coward.”

Sanders was Chesterman’s roommate in the fall 2013 semester. She said she was sleeping the night Chesterman was struck.

“I’m angry,” said Mike Griffith, a Chico pedicab owner. “It was a very big miscarriage of justice. He showed no remorse – he was zoning out the whole time.”

Griffith, also known as “Mike G,” gave Chesterman a pedicab ride home the night before she was hit on Nord Avenue.

“They were telling him she was a beautiful person and he checked out the whole time,” Griffith said.

Correction: The Orion incorrectly identified Daniel Chesterman as “Chance Chesterman.” The individual in the photo is Daniel Chesterman.

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

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