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Former Cuesta student pleads not guilty in death of Cal Poly student

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Former Cuesta student Gianna Brencola appeared in court with her defense lawyer for a prior hearing on Nov. 7.
File photo by Alexander / Cuestonian


Update 11/28: Gianna Brencola’s pre-preliminary hearing was continued to Dec. 5. The continuation was a result of a joint request from both the prosecution and defense who felt they needed more time to gather information.

By Rachel Barnes
News Editor

The former Cuesta student accused of the vehicular manslaughter of a Cal Poly student pleaded not guilty this week to multiple counts.

Gianna Brencola faces charges of vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI and felony hit-and-run in the death of Kennedy Love, who was a fourth-year landscape architecture student.

Brencola entered the plea Nov. 14 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court after numerous arraignment continuations due to her case being recently moved from juvenile to adult court and the subsequent transfer of the defendant from the Juvenile Services Center to County Jail.

A judge decided on Oct. 30 that Brencola, who was 17 at the time of the fatal incident in late August, should be tried as an adult based on the severity of the matter.

Brencola’s next court date is scheduled for Nov. 28, at which time a preliminary hearing date will likely be set.

Love, 22, was riding his bike down Foothill Boulevard, near Ferrini Road, at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 when the suspect allegedly hit him, left the scene and then abandoned her vehicle on Tassajara Street. Love died at the scene, authorities said.

Police arrested Brencola about an hour later after locating her in her Los Osos home, authorities said. She has been in custody since then and was tranfered on Nov. 9 to County Jail where she is being held in lieu of $165,000 bail. 

Her blood-alcohol level that night was .148 percent, authorities said, nearly two times the legal driving limit of the .08 percent allowed for motorists 21 and over.

Brencola’s name had been kept confidential until her case was moved to adult court because authorities were legally prevented from releasing her identity since she was a minor at the time of the alleged vehicular manslaughter.

Brencola was 17 at the time of the alleged vehicular manslaughter and was enrolled as a Cuesta student then.