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Santa Barbara man convicted of killing three in 2019 crash receives 45 years to life

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – John Dungan, the Santa Barbara man convicted of killing three people after intentionally crashing his car into another along Highway 154 in 2019, has been sentenced to 45 years to life in prison, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

"Judge Adams issued his sentence after carefully citing to all of the factors in aggravation that were set out with pinpoint precision and accuracy in the well-written presentence report," Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagner told News Channel 3-12.

"Dungan set off a chain of events that showcased the most despicable and downright evil display imaginable. His actions were methodical and meticulously executed and this was not lost on anyone."

Dungan, 31, was convicted on Aug. 2, 2022, on three counts of second-degree murder for killing 34-year-old Vanessa Bley and her two small children, Lucienne Bley Gleason, 2, and Desmond Bley Gleason, four months, in an accident near Cold Spring Bridge on Oct. 25, 2019.

Dungan was driving a Chevy Camaro along Highway 154 at 119 miles per hour when he drove through Bley's Chevy Volt on Oct. 25, killing all three victims instantaneously.

He previously pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, but was found guilty of the crimes on Aug. 2, 2022.

He was sentenced on Monday to 45 years to life in prison – 15 years for each of the three victims.

A "ripple effect rang out in the courtroom" as the Gleason family members recounted their loss and addressed the court.

"It was gut-wrenching to hear the family recount the loss," Wagner said.

"Deep reflection always results in direct focus on the victims.  As trial deputies assigned complex and serious cases such this one, we always carry an internal torch in memory and honor of the victims – it is why we do what we do."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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