Judge Denies Motion To Remove Herself From Karlie Tomica's Case

Migna Sanchez-Llorens will remain the judge in the case of the 20-year-old woman accused of striking and killing a pedestrian in Miami Beach and fleeing the scene

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    Karlie Tomica heads to court on Friday, Feb. 15.

    A Miami-Dade judge denied a motion to remove herself from the case of a 20-year-woman charged with DUI manslaughter in a South Beach chef’s death.

    Circuit Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens will continue to oversee court proceedings in the case of Karlie Tomica.

    Tomica is also charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death, DUI property damage and resisting arrest without violence in connection with a Jan. 28 crash outside the Shelborne Hotel at 1801 Collins Ave. Police said Tomica was driving a 2007 Dodge 4-door when she struck and killed 49-year-old Stefano Riccioletti – a chef at the Shore Club hotel – before she drove to her apartment on the 5600 block of Collins Avenue.

    Tomica’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit, according to police.

    Witness Accounts, Photos Released in Fatal Miami Beach Hit-and-Run Case

    [MI] Witness Accounts, Photos Released in Fatal Miami Beach Hit-and-Run Case
    Prosecutors released photos that show Collins Avenue after popular chef Stefano Riccioletti was struck and killed there on Jan. 28, and more than 100 pages of their investigation. Witness Julio Leyva told detectives that Karlie Tomica – who faces charges including DUI manslaughter in the case – was unsteady on her feet and "walking way too fast" when she arrived home.

    Witness Accounts, Photos Released in Miami Beach Hit-and-Run Case

    Her attorneys filed a motion to disqualify Sanchez-Llorens on Monday, saying that remarks she made in a February hearing showed the judge had reached a “pre-judgment of the Defendant’s guilt,” leading Tomica to fear that she wouldn’t receive a fair, impartial trial.

    At that hearing, Sanchez-Llorens raised Tomica's bond from $10,000 to $77,000 and told her she "made choices to drink" the night of the crash.

    "In life you make choices and you clearly made choices that night, you made choices to drink, you made choices at this point in time," Sanchez-Llorens said, before mentioning Tomica’s alleged blood alcohol level. "I mean, it's indicated that your levels were beyond anything ordinary."

    The judge’s conclusions that Tomica was drinking and about her alleged blood alcohol level were based on the prosecutor's word and without presentation of evidence, Tomica’s attorneys said.

    Tomica is out on bail and on house arrest.

    VIDEO: 911 Calls Released in Fatal Miami Beach Hit-and-Run