October 20, 2021
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Santa Rosa man convicted of DUI murder

July 16, 2021

Defendant Fernando Aguilera, 33 of Santa Rosa, CA was convicted on Friday July 2, 2021 of Second-Degree Murder for the death of Rosa Lua, 47, of Windsor, on March 20, 2019, along with additional charges of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated, and Driving Under the Influence Causing Injury, following a jury trial before the Honorable Mark Urioste.

“Yet another senseless death was caused by someone who knew well the dangers of drinking and driving,” said District Attorney Jill Ravitch.  “This victim left behind twins who celebrated their sixth birthday the day the verdict was rendered.  The defendant’s conduct, after twice being convicted in the past for driving under the influence, will forever impact their lives as well.”

The charges resulted from defendant Fernando Leon Aguilera causing a fatal traffic collision when he drove his car into the back of another vehicle occupied by the victim Rosa Lua, on US-101 near River Road in Santa Rosa, on March 20, 2019. Rosa Lua’s vehicle immediately overturned, she suffered fatal injuries from the crash, and was pronounced dead on scene shortly after being extracted from her vehicle by fire personnel. Following the collision, defendant Aguilera was found to have a blood alcohol level of approximately 0.156 percent, and evidence showed that he was traveling in excess of 100 mph just prior to colliding with Rosa Lua’s vehicle. The collision with Rosa Lua was the third time defendant Aguilera was caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Defendant Aguilera was previously convicted of driving under the influence in 2009, and again in 2011.  

The jury was selected at the county fairgrounds in late May to comply with health orders regarding social distancing.  The selected jurors heard evidence in a courtroom at the Hall of Justice beginning on June 4, 2021, with verdicts rendered after two days of deliberations.

Defendant Fernando Leon Aguilera will face a potential sentence in state prison of 15 years to life as a result of his conviction for Second Degree Murder when sentenced on August 24, 2021.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Robert L Blade and Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Mike Phennicie. California Highway Patrol Officer Jeffrey Drum headed the investigation.