A 20-year-old former high school basketball star has been charged with the fatal hit-and-run of Australian man Andrew Mallard on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard.
Kristopher Ryan Smith entered not guilty pleas when he was arraigned in a downtown Los Angeles court on Tuesday.
Mr Mallard’s death in the early hours of April 18 was the final tragic chapter of the Perth man’s life.
Mr Mallard was well known in Australia after he was wrongly imprisoned for 12 years for the 1994 death of Perth jeweller Pamela Lawrence.
The 56-year-old’s conviction was quashed by the High Court in 2005 and he received a $3.25 million ex gratia payment.
Mr Mallard attempted to get on with his life, but it ended after he visited a Sunset Boulevard liquor store to buy cigarettes at about 1.30am on April 18 and then crossed the iconic LA street.
Security camera footage on Sunset Boulevard showed a silver sedan striking Mr Mallard.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the vehicle did not stop.
The LA County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday Smith, a former star shooting guard for Inglewood High School, had been charged with one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person and one misdemeanour count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.
Smith faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted.
Smith claimed in a TV interview on April 25 he did not see Mr Mallard as the Australian walked across Sunset Boulevard.
“I panicked,” Smith told LA TV station CBS2.
“I just went home to my mum.”
Smith’s lawyer said his client had been out to dinner with friends on the night of the incident, but had not been drinking.