A Santa Maria man admitted Thursday to committing vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence when he ran over his girlfriend with his vehicle as they fought last February.
Jack Misiaszek, who turns 31 today, entered a guilty plea to the felony charge Thursday in Superior Court Judge Patricia Kelly’s Santa Maria courtroom.
He also pleaded no contest to felony attempted carjacking and admitted a gang allegation in a separate 2010 stabbing case that was originally charged as gang-related attempted murder.
In addition, Misiaszek admitted having two prior convictions.
The charges of vehicular manslaughter and attempted carjacking he pleaded to Thursday each count as a strike against him, meaning a third qualifying serious conviction will result in him receiving a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Misiaszek is expected to be sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in state prison when he returns to court next Thursday. He will likely serve only half that time due to sentencing guidelines.
According to testimony at a hearing in December, Misiaszek and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Antionette Raygoza of Santa Maria, argued on Feb. 28 as Misiaszek sat in the driver’s seat of his sports utility vehicle in the 1600 block of North McClelland Street and Raygoza stood outside the driver’s side window.
A witness described seeing hands swinging from both sides as the pair quarreled.
Then, the witness said, Raygoza’s feet lifted off the ground and Misiaszek accelerated forward. Raygoza was thrown under the vehicle, where she was run over by a tire and killed.
Outside court, family members of Raygoza said they didn’t expect Misiaszek to enter a plea Thursday and were unhappy with the short sentence he would be receiving.
“Nothing’s ever going to bring her back, but 10 years is almost nothing to us,” said Raygoza’s aunt, Debbie Garcia, who was wearing a sweatshirt with a picture of her niece on the back.
Garcia acknowledged she was glad the court proceedings were coming to an end, however.
“For me, I can start to heal because I’m just tired of coming to court and seeing him (Misiaszek), waiting all day long,” she continued.
Antionette Raygoza’s father, Anthony Raygoza, said Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Gresser told the family she’d fight for their daughter.
“It looks like she just gave into a plea,” he added.
Said Garcia, “Of course no one’s happy. I’m not happy. No amount of time is going to make this happy.”
“He took something from us that meant a lot,” she added of Misiaszek, starting to tear up.
Gresser declined to comment Thursday on the plea.
“I don’t want to make a comment about the charges until after the sentencing, because I do want to speak a little bit further with the family,” she explained.
Misiaszek’s attorney, Michael Scott, said his client took the plea for a number of reasons, including he wanted to avoid the possibility of spending life in prison on the attempted murder carjacking case.
“He does not believe it was his fault that the young lady died,” Scott said, noting that evidence presented at earlier hearings has indicated both Misiaszek and Raygoza participated in the altercation.
Still, Misiaszek feels bad that Raygoza died, Scott said.
“He’s sorry for her death and he’s sorry for the pain this family has suffered, but he intended her no harm,” the attorney added.