A Santa Barbara man charged with murdering Vanessa Bley and her two children during a crash on State Route 154 pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.
John Roderick Dungan, 28 appeared before Judge Clifford Anderson for arraignment in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
Mr. Dungan’s hearing was delayed until around 11 a.m. so his defense attorneys, Jeremy Lessem and Danielle Tamir, could provide him with civilian clothes to wear during the hearing.
When the case was finally called, Judge Anderson accepted Mr. Dungan’s plea and set a preliminary hearing setting conference on Jan. 31, 2020.
Mr. Lessem filed a protective order against publicity in the case, but Judge Anderson said he couldn’t rule on the motion without proof of service to the affected parties.
“It’s a broad motion encompassing among others court and court personnel, law enforcement which potentially is four different agencies both city and county. Not to mention public officials,” said Judge Anderson.
“I have no written opposition to it (the motion) but I anticipate it’s because some of the potential people weren’t served.”
On Nov. 6, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Dungan with three counts of murder with an enhancement for committing crimes while out on bail.
A California Highway Patrol investigation has determined Mr. Dungan intentionally drove his vehicle into the opposite lane of traffic in the head-on crash that killed Ms. Bley and her children, 2-year-old Lucienne Gleason and 4-month-old Desmond Gleason.
The crash occurred at approximately 4:45 p.m. Oct. 25 on the 154 just east of the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge.
Ms. Bley, 34, was traveling east when her vehicle was struck head on by a Chevy Camaro driven by Mr. Dungan.
The crash caused a GMC Yukon to hit Ms. Bley’s vehicle, causing a brush fire.
Mr. Dungan suffered critical injuries in the crash and was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
He was arrested upon his recovery and remains in County Jail custody without bail.