Judge denies hospital release for nurse in deadly Windsor Hills crash: 'She stole 6 innocent lives'

Nicole Linton appears in Los Angeles Superior Court for arraignment on murder charges stemming from a traffic accident, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Los Angeles. Linton, suspected of causing a fiery crash that killed five people and an 8 1/2-month-old fetus near Los Angeles, has been charged with murder, as well as vehicular manslaughter, and is being held on $9 million bail. (Frederick M. Brown/Daily Mail.com via AP, Pool)
Nicole Linton appears in court in Los Angeles on Aug. 8 for arraignment on murder charges stemming from a multi-vehicle collision in Windsor Hills. (Frederick M. Brown / Associated Press)

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the nurse charged in the deadly Windsor Hills crash poses a threat to public safety and must continue to be held in jail as her case moves forward.

The decision issued by Judge Victoria Wilson came after Nicole Linton's attorneys argued that their client — who is charged with six counts of murder — should be moved to UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, where they said she could be further evaluated for mental health issues and possible epilepsy.

But Wilson was unconvinced.

"She crashed into and set two cars on fire. She stole six innocent lives," said Wilson from the bench as Linton hung her head behind a glass partition in the courtroom.

In the gallery, family members of some of the victims of the deadly Aug. 4 crash at La Brea and Slauson avenues clapped and cheered the decision to keep Linton behind bars.

"She killed my grandsons and my daughter. Why would you even defend her?" one woman cried, leaving court as defense attorneys made their arguments.

Linton is accused of killing Asherey Ryan, 23; her nearly 1-year-old child, Alonzo Quintero; as well as Ryan's fetus. Ryan's boyfriend, Reynold Lester, also was killed in the fiery crash, as were friends Nathesia Lewis, 43, and Lynette Noble, 38, both of whom were in a separate vehicle.

Prosecutors revealed in court papers Friday that Linton was traveling 130 mph when she blew through a red light at the intersection and slammed into slow-moving traffic heading west on Slauson Avenue.

They argued that Linton could receive adequate medical and psychiatric care in jail, that she had a history of aggressive behavior and dangerous driving and that she could harm others if released. They also said there was no evidence to suggest that Linton suffered a loss of consciousness or epileptic seizure while driving.

"The suggestion that she’s suffering a lack of consciousness, such as a seizure, while also maintaining control of a car moving 130 mph … defies logic," Deputy Dist. Atty. Antonella Nitorescu said.

Defense attorneys disagreed.

"Ms. Linton is an ill individual and should be in a hospital," her attorney, Halim Dhanidina, said Monday. "That protects the public."

Though prosecutors did not dispute that Linton suffers from mental health issues, they said she decided not to take her prescribed medicine, which could have prevented a manic episode.

Linton had been off her medication since about 2019, she told California Highway Patrol officers following the crash, prosecutors said.

She said she stopped taking it because it made her "gain weight or become sick or depressed," the judge said.

Linton is set to be arraigned on the charges in her case Monday afternoon, her attorney said.

She faces up to 90 years to life in prison if convicted.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.