As expected, the Santa Barbara man convicted of three counts of second-degree murder for deliberately driving his speeding car head-on into oncoming traffic, hitting a Solvang woman’s car, killing her and her two young children, has been sentenced to 45 years to life behind bars.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Adams sentenced John Dungan, 30, Monday to three consecutive 15-to-life terms, the maximum allowable sentence, for causing the deaths of Rebecca Vanessa Bley Gleason, 34, and her two children, 2-year-old Lucienne Bley Gleason and 4-month-old Desmond Bley Gleason, in the October 2019 crash.
Mr. Dungan’s Chevy Camaro was traveling at nearly 120 mph at the time.
Prosecutors, who had sought convictions for first-degree murder, accused the defendant of deliberately ramming his Chevy Camaro into Ms. Bley’s vehicle after switching to the wrong side of State Route 154.
Coroners testified that Ms. Bley and her children died of blunt force injuries as a result of the crash. Ms. Bley was ejected from the vehicle, but her two small children were strapped into their car seats in the back.
Prosecutors alleged during the trial that Mr. Dungan was both suicidal and homicidal at the time of the incident.
“Judge Adams issued his sentence after carefully citing to all of the factors in aggravation that were set-out with pinpoint precision and accuracy in the well-written presentence report,” Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagner said Tuesday.
“Dungan set-off a chain of events that showcased the most despicable and downright evil display imaginable. His actions were methodical and meticulously executed and this was not lost on anyone, including the jurors (three of whom attended the sentencing).
“The ripple effect rang out in the courtroom as Gleason family members addressed the court, and it was gut wrenching to hear the family recount the loss,” Mr. Wagner told the News-Press. “Deep reflection always results in direct focus on the victims. As trial deputies assigned complex and serious cases such as this one, we always carry an internal torch in memory and honor of the victims — it is why we do what we do.
“I am honored to have served along with Megan Chanda and quite proud of the chemistry that we created in the presentation of the case.”