Hearing set in Los Banos for man charged in boy's death

tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comMarch 29, 2013 

LOS BANOS -- A judge set a preliminary hearing for a man charged in the drunken-driving-related death of a Los Banos boy last year.

Courtroom 13 in the Robert M. Falasco Justice Center was filled to capacity this week for Justin Nappi's appearance. Several people wore T-shirts with "Justice for Jayden," a reference to 10-year-old Jayden Thomas.

The preliminary hearing for Nappi, 21, is set for 1:30 p.m. May 29 in Los Banos.

Nappi, who was 20 at the time of the crash, faces charges of one count of gross vehicular manslaughter, a count of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a measurable blood alcohol level causing injury. All three counts are felonies and carry enhancements for injuries to other passengers. Nappi pleaded not guilty to the charges Nov. 7.

Judge Harry Jacobs, prosecutor David Sandhaus and defense attorney Jeffrey Tenenbaum estimate that the preliminary hearing will last two hours.

Sandhaus said in open court Wednesday that he made an offer to Nappi and his attorney that expires on the day of the hearing. He did not specify the terms of the deal.

Jayden Thomas was killed Nov. 3 on his way home from a Los Banos Wildcats peewee football game in Manteca. The Volta Elementary fifth-grader and his family were riding in a 1992 BMW when it was struck on its passenger side by a 1991 Chevy pickup. Police say that Nappi ran a stop sign at the intersection of Place Road and East B Street.

Jayden's parents and two sisters were injured, but have returned home from the hospital.

Members of the community held a vigil and began raising money the next day for the family. Jayden's teammates played games in his honor and held a ceremony in his memory. A shrine placed at the site of Jayden's death sprang up shortly after the accident.

Court records did not reveal Nappi's blood-alcohol level from the night of the collision, but did state that blood was drawn after he was taken to Memorial Hospital Los Banos.

Nappi remains in the John Latorroca Correctional Facility in lieu of $400,000 bail.

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