Repeat DUI offender pleads guilty to second-degree murder charge, could face life sentence

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Joshua Daniel Taylor pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in court Thursday and is expected to face 15 years to life in prison.

Taylor was driving with a blood-alcohol level between .25 and .27 when he ran a red light and struck 38-year-old mother of three Rocio Leamon as she was walking in the Lake Murray/San Carlos area last August. She was pronounced dead 30 minutes after the accident. 

Related Link: Mother of three killed by alleged drunk driver near Lake Murray

Taylor also has prior DUI convictions in 1996 and 2000. 

The victim was struck while crossing an intersection and carried 57 feet before landing face-down on the pavement. A witness to the accident saw Taylor throw something in the bushes following the collision, and police later found a bottle of vodka was discarded from his vehicle, San Diego police officer Jason Costanza testified. 

Prosecution keyed in on Taylor’s history of driving under the influence. "He was in a different position than most people in society," Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott said. "He’d been through the system, convicted twice. He knew how dangerous it was to do what he did and he did it anyway."

Taylor told police that he had previous DUI convictions following his arrest, and that he had completed an 18-month program on the dangers of drinking and driving.  When asked if he took anything from the class, Taylor responded, "Apparently not," Costanza testified.

Taylor will face sentencing on Apr. 19. 

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