Over objections from the defense, a Lompoc Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the former U.S. airman accused of striking and killing a Lompoc couple while intoxicated to provide a DNA sample.

Prosecutors claim that Shaquille Lindsey, 25, was inebriated when, on Aug. 28, 2016, he veered over the double-yellow line on Santa Lucia Canyon Road in his rented Dodge Challenger and struck a northbound Ford Focus. The crash killed Ruben and Bertha Betancourt and seriously injured their son, Juan.

In July 2017, Lindsey was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of DUI causing great bodily injury. The case was later dismissed due to a jurisdictional issue but refiled by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office on Aug. 31, 2018.

Lindsey pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one felony count of DUI involving drugs (marijuana) causing injury during his Sept. 18, 2018, arraignment. Prosecutors allege he was driving 18 mph over the posted speed limit and was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.

In addition, Lindsey also faces special allegations of causing great bodily injury for each felony count.

A preliminary hearing began Jan. 10 but was postponed after Kenneth Hamilton, Lindsey's defense attorney, raised concerns regarding the accuracy and reliability of blood samples prosecutors have attributed to the 25-year-old Georgia man.

Records provided by the U.S. Air Force and results of a blood test conducted in 2019 show Lindsey's blood type is A-positive. According to Hamilton, the blood drawn and tested when Lindsey was admitted to Marian Regional Medical Center — samples of which were later provided to Air Force investigators and an independent toxicologist — were type A-negative.

Approximately four drops of Lindsey's blood sample remain, an amount prosecutors say is sufficient for DNA testing. They said the test is necessary to resolve issues relating to the DNA dispute.

But Hamilton maintains the blood samples, which he described as "plasma or serum," do not contain DNA. Given the lack of DNA evidence required to create a comparison profile, Hamilton asked the judge to deny the request.

Lindsey is due back in court May 3 for his continued preliminary hearing.

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Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga



Mathew Burciaga is a Santa Maria Times reporter who covers education, agriculture and public safety. Prior to joining the Times, Mathew ran a 114-year-old community newspaper in Wyoming. He owns more than 40 pairs of crazy socks from across the globe.