News Releases

October 20, 2014: San Pedro Man Sentenced for Man’s Death Near Catalina Island

Contact: 
Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 50-year-old man was sentenced to four years in state prison after he was convicted of endangering another man’s life during a dive at Catalina Island, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. 

Craig Lightner (dob 10/13/64) of San Pedro pleaded guilty on July 8 to one felony count of involuntary manslaughter in case NA096896. 

A restitution hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch in Department S21. 

Deputy District Attorney Carol Rose, who prosecuted the case, said Lightner and the victim, Mark Rascon, 47, took a boat to Catalina Island on July 27, 2013 to capture Blue-banded Goby fish, which is illegal.  

Lightner provided air hoses and breathing regulators for the two men to use during the dive, the prosecutor said, however the equipment was unsafe. Additionally, Lightner did not show Rascon how to properly use the gear. 

During the dive, kelp likely became entangled in Rascon’s breathing equipment, the prosecutor said. Instead of helping Rascon, Lightner called the Coast Guard and said there was a missing diver. 

While the defendant was waiting for the Coast Guard, he failed to provide aid to Rascon, the prosecutor said. By the time the Coast Guard arrived, Rascon was found dead in 80 feet of water. It was later determined that Rascon died from drowning due to an embolism. 

A little less than two months after the incident, Lightner was arrested in connection with Rascon’s death. 

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.