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New Attorney Representing Car-Surfing Murder Defendant

With his murder trial expected to begin later this year, Lanie Tyrone Richardson appeared in Superior Court in Santa Barbara on Thursday, represented by a new attorney.

Richardson is accused of murder in a high-profile “car-surfing” incident last year, during which prosecutors allege he was under the influence and behind the wheel of an SUV in the early morning hours of June 6 while Allison Meadows, 26, and her friend, Lindsay Keebler, 25, were riding on the hood.

With the vehicle traveling in excess of 70 mph, according to estimates by the California Highway Patrol, the two women were ejected onto East Valley Road in Montecito. Meadows died of major head injuries, and Keebler was seriously injured in the incident.

Richardson pleaded not guilty last November to a host of charges, including second-degree murder and manslaughter while intoxicated with gross negligence.

The case was continued Thursday to May 16 for a readiness and settlement conference, and will continue to trial on June 20, according to Von Nguyen, deputy district attorney handling the case.

Public defender Rafael Amezaga had been representing Richardson, but a new attorney was assigned because Amezaga is on leave for family reasons. Attorney Jeff Chambliss is now representing Richardson.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Richardson could face up to 15 years to life in prison, a fine as high as $10,000 and a “strike” on his record under California’s three-strikes law.

Additional prison time and fines could be tacked on for the other charges.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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