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Judge recalls 12-year prison sentence for Dylan Morse, son of Merced district attorney

Dylan Morse
Dylan Morse Merced Sun-Star

SANTA ROSA -- A Sonoma County Superior Court judge has recalled Dylan Morse's 12-year prison sentence for a February drinking and driving crash that killed one person and injured two others.

Judge Kenneth Gnoss said during a court hearing Wednesday morning that he was recalling Morse's sentence entirely, according to Terry Menshek, media coordinator for the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office.

A Nov. 4 court date has been set to determine when Morse, the son of Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II, will be resentenced. Under state law, Gnoss can now sentence Morse to 12-years, four months in prison or less. He cannot, however, give Morse more years in prison than he was originally sentenced to.

Under state law, a judge has 120 days to reconsider his sentence. Morse was sentenced on July 15.

Menshek said Gnoss issued his own motion to recall the sentence. Morse, who has already begun serving his sentence in state prison, wasn't present for Wednesday's hearing. As a result of the judge's decision, Morse will be returned to Sonoma County for resentencing.

Morse was arrested Feb. 14 after causing a two-car collision near Cotati. California Highway Patrol investigators said the car he was driving, a 1998 Volvo, passed through a red light around 2:20 a.m., at the intersection of Stony Point Road and Highway 116. Morse smashed into a 1988 Honda driven by 22-year-old Alexander Ruiz of Oakland, killing him.

The crash seriously injured the passenger in Morse's car, 19-year-old Ryne Spitzer, who remains in a coma. Vanessa King, the 25-year-old passenger in Ruiz's car, received a broken arm and facial lacerations.

Morse was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent, nearly twice the state's legal limit, according to the CHP.

Michael Ruiz, the father of Alexander Ruiz, was present in the courtroom during the hearing. Ruiz said Gnoss didn't say in court why he was reconsidering Morse's sentence.

Check later today for more information on this developing story.
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