Driver in Antelope crash killing father, daughter could face death penalty

AUBURN – Twin brothers who were in a stolen Ford pickup truck that crashed into a father and daughter in Antelope pleaded not guilty to charges in Placer County Court Wednesday.

Ruslan and Roman Glukhoy, 19, are accused of stealing the truck and leading officers on a high-speed chase from Loomis to Antelope. The pursuit ended when the brothers crashed into the Kia of Jose Luis Barriga-Tovar, 35, and his daughter Anahi, 14, killing them instantly.

The pair are charged with murder. Placer County prosecutor Dave Tellman added special circumstance allegations of murder in the commission of a felony and multiple murder victims to Ruslan Glukhoy's charges. His brother's attorney said based on the special circumstance additions, it appeared Ruslan Glukhoy was the driver.

"I would surmise from the charging decision of the district attorney that that is their belief that Ruslan is the driver," David Cohen said.

If found guilty, Glukhoy could face the death penalty.

"If a jury were to find true one or both special circumstances, depending on whether or not our office seeks the death penalty, they would then have to determine whether or not the death penalty is appropriate," Tellman said.

The prosecutor said his team would continue pouring the enormous amounts of evidence to determine if they'll actually seek the death penalty in the case.

The crash that killed the Tovars was early on the morning of Wednesday, April 2. Police believe the Glukhoys stole the truck after crashing a stolen BMW in Loomis.

The two, and a third man, Yuri Merkushev, 21, are accused of burglarizing homes earlier that morning. When police arrived, investigators said they stole the BMW and drove at officers.

Later, the three abandoned the stolen BMW. Merkushev hid in a nearby neighborhood, and the Glukhoys allegedly stole the truck involved in the deadly crash after a high speed police pursuit on Interstate 80.

Merkushev was released from jail on $50,000 bond. As he was leaving the Auburn courthouse, he said, "No, I'm good," when asked for comment.

All three men face charges of assault on a peace officer, grand theft, burglary and more.

They'll be back in court May 19.


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