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Trial starts for alleged driver in crash that killed two East Bay kids

MARTINEZ — The trial has started for the man charged with two murder counts in a 2017 Concord car crash that killed kids aged 5 and 10.
Lemuel S. Wilson Jr., 36, has appeared in court this week alongside his attorney, Colin Cooper, as police and eyewitnesses testified about the Highway 4 car crash that killed brothers Vincent Rothenberg, 5, and Lorenzo Reyes, 10, both of San Pablo.
Witnesses so far have included the boys’ mother , Aida Reyes, as well as CHP officers, employees at a nearby Kinder’s restaurant, and distributors of the type of wine Wilson allegedly drank shortly before the crash. A large group of both the victims’ and defendant’s family members have attended throughout the week.
Lemuel Sirvonn Wilson Jr. 
Wilson faces charges of murder, driving under the influence, and a leaving the scene of an accident charge that alleges Wilson literally ran from the area, dodging cars across the freeway and making his way to an Oakland hospital where he was arrested several hours later.
Because of the gap between the crash and Wilson’s arrest, authorities don’t know his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash. What they do have to convince the jury he was drunk is a photograph of Wilson, behind the wheel of a car, holding a bottle full of pink liquid. Authorities contend it is a wine product and the picture was taken 40 minutes before the crash.
When prosecutor Derek Butts put the picture on a projection screen in court Wednesday, it was enough to make several of Rothenberg and Reyes’ loved ones in attendance begin to cry. Pointing to the photo, Butts asked a E&J Gallo wines executive to identify the bottle, who said it was a rose or moscato product under the company’s umbrella.
In order to prove murder, Butts will have to convince the jury not only that Wilson drove the car drunk and crashed into Aida Reyes’ car, but that he knew a fatality was probable. Butts’ most recent trial was a similar case involving Fred Lowe, a Sacramento man convicted of four murder counts for killing two boys and two men in a DUI crash on I-80 in San Pablo.
The case could be handed off to a jury as early as next week.

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