(KTLA) — A Malibu man has pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder in connection with a high-speed crash that killed four Pepperdine University students last week.
Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, also faces four counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Tuesday.
Bohm was allegedly going 104 mph in a 45 mph zone on the Pacific Coast Highway on the night of Oct. 17 when he lost control and crashed into four sorority sisters who were walking along the road a few miles from campus. Bohm reportedly sideswiped at least three parked cars before crashing into the four college seniors, as well as two other people.
The four women — identified as Niamh Rolston of Los Angeles; Peyton Stewart of Westwood, New Jersey; Asha Weir, who grew up in Skippack, Pennsylvania; and Deslyn Williams of Atlanta by Pepperdine University — died at the scene. The two other victims were taken to the hospital.
While Bohm was arrested at the scene, he was released from custody hours later as authorities investigated the circumstances of the crash. He was eventually re-arrested and booked on suspicion of murder.
The defendant’s attorney, Michael Kraut, told The Associated Press the crash occurred as Bohm was being chased following a road rage incident. Bohm had been texting at a stop light when a man in another car began shouting and then pursued him, Kraut said.
Bohm passed all field sobriety tests following the crash, Kraut said, and has no criminal record, “not even a traffic ticket.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Arens said at the news conference that investigators had “no evidence” that the crash stemmed from a road rage incident.
Bohm, who turned 22 the day before the crash, was a student-athlete in high school. A 2017 Los Angeles Times story said the infielder-pitcher at Chaminade Prep was “highly regarded.”
Bohm was previously being held on $8 million bail, but that was reduced to $4 million, the DA’s office explained. He faces multiple life sentences if convicted as charged.
“We lost four young people with a complete life ahead of them, for really no reason other than complete and reckless disregard for the life of others,” Gascón said.
“Our hearts go out to the families, loved ones, and the Pepperdine University family as they cope with this unimaginable pain,” Gascón added. “Today we stand in deep sorrow for the loss of four innocent lives tragically taken in a senseless act. We want to assure the community that we are committed to seeking justice for those who have been taken from us too soon.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.