A repeat DUI offender who was convicted of murder for crashing into a vehicle on the side of Highway 101, killing its driver, will spend the next 25 years in a state prison.
But despite the loss of her partner of 26 years, the wife of Richard “Ric” Stabile of Santa Maria told William Mobley at his sentencing Friday that she doesn’t hate him, and she hopes his story will prevent others from drinking and driving.
“People need to be acutely reminded when thinking about drinking and driving that a car is a weapon,” Karen Stabile said. “Maybe my husband’s passing will stop them cold in their tracks.”
Mobley, 35, was convicted Dec. 6, 2017, of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and other DUI-related charges following a month-long trial in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
You ripped him away from my life just as I was getting to know him.
Devin Stabile, son of murder victim Ric Stabile
During trial, jurors heard how Mobley, of Santa Maria, had two prior convictions for DUI when he got behind the wheel of his pickup truck following an afternoon of drinking at Harry’s Nightclub and Beach Bar in Pismo Beach. While driving south on Highway 101, Mobley crashed into two cars parked on the shoulder near El Campo Road, killing Stabile, 68, who had stopped to help a friend in a stalled Volkswagon Jetta.
Stabile died in the arms of his friend, according to testimony. Mobley fled the scene but was found hiding in nearby brush.
In California, drivers convicted of DUI must sign a “Watson” advisement acknowledging that they can be charged with murder if they continue to drink and drive and someone dies as a result.
On Friday, the families of both Stabile and Mobley packed the San Luis Obispo courtroom and read statements before Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy.
Members of Stabile’s family painted a portrait of a fun and loving grandfather of 12 who was a skilled jazz drummer and worked as a security guard despite his age to provide for his family, members of which had recently rekindled relationships with him.
There were many warnings for Mr. Mobley.
Carrie Jones, stepdaughter of Ric Stabile
“The missed time was just starting to catch up when you did what you did,” said Stabile’s son, Devin Stabile. “You ripped him away from my life just as I was getting to know him.”
The younger Stabile also empathized with Mobley, saying he didn’t believe he was “a monster” who intentionally killed his father and said he’ll spend the rest of his life forgiving him.
“I hope some day, some person decides, ‘Hey, I’d better stop and (not get behind the wheel) so I don’t killed someone or myself’ — I hope that’s what comes out of this,” he said.
Mobley, seated next to his attorneys, sobbed quietly as he looked at each speaker and listened to their statements.
Carrie Jones, Stabile’s eldest stepdaughter, said she had personal experience with loved ones’ alcoholism and understood effects of the disease, but she added that Mobley had chances to get help.
“I hate that alcoholism has reared its ugly head in our lives again,” Jones said. “There were many warnings for Mr. Mobley.”
Despite telling Mobley that she didn’t hate him, Stebile’s wife said she still hasn’t fully processed her husband’s death and drives back roads around the Highway 101 crash site to avoid it.
“I want him back,” Karen Stabile said.
I hope that each passing day brings less pain.
Mobley’s mother, Sherry Mobley, apologized to Stebile’s family members and asked Duffy for compassion in his sentencing.
“I now feel loss, as well,” she told the family, wiping away tears.
Lastly, Mobley stood and addressed both families, saying he’s truly sorry and relives the crash every night.
“I can’t imagine the pain, the suffering (from) the loss of Mr. Stabile,” Mobley said. “I hope one day you will come to forgive me for what I did... I hope that each passing day brings less pain.”
The murder charge carried a minimum of 15 years to life in prison, and Duffy additionally sentenced Mobley to 10 years, eight months for his remaining charges, citing the two prior DUI convictions.
“I’ve been handling DUI cases for over 40 years, and this is the most aggravated case I can recall,” Duffy said.
All told, Mobley will not be eligible for parole until roughly 2043, when he will be about 60 years old.