The man who pleaded guilty to fatally hitting 4-year-old Ariel Russo on anUpper West Side sidewalk has been sentenced toup to nine years in prison.
Franklin Reyes Jr., who was charged with manslaughter, assault, fleeing a police officer and escape in the June 2013 incident, was sentenced Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court by Justice Gregory Carro.
“What’s in this man’s head is kind of a window into his soul about how he really feels,” Carro said in court, according to the NYDaily News.
Reyes, who was 17 at the time, was driving his parents’ SUV without a license and was being chased by police when his car jumped a curb, killing Russo and injuring her grandmother, Katia Gutierrez,on their way to school, according to CBS 2 New York.
“My heart is broken in a million pieces,” Gutierrez said to ABC 7. “I miss her more than words can ever describe.”
During the sentencing, SofiaRussoread astatement to the courtroom about her daughter.“Ariel died a violent death because of your reckless behavior and you have not apologized you have shown no remorse,” she said.
After being released on bail, Reyes reportedly got in trouble with the law more than once. He and his father were charged in July 2014 with looting an apartment in Chelsea, where Franklin Reyes Sr. worked as the superintendent. They were alleged by police to have taken $2,000 worth of jewelry, cash and electronics from a tenant who had died of cancer.
Then, in September 2014, Reyes Jr. was driving without a license again. When he was caught and stopped by police, he hit the gas pedal and dragged one of the officers 100 feet.
“You repeated the same actions which led to her death while out on bail,” Russo’s mothersaid, according to the Daily News.
In court, Reyes apologized to the Russo family.”I truly in my heart apologize to the entire Russo family. I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused. I will carry this tragic accident for the rest of my life, knowing that I took the life of an innocent child.”
However, it was reported that he read his statement with no emotion and the family did not see it as sincere.
“It was just words,” Sofia Russo said. “I have to see his actions. What is he going to do when he gets out of prison?”
CBS 2 reported that because of time served, Reyes will be eligible to go before the parole board in August 2017.The Russo family said, however, that they will make sure Reyes stays in prison for the maximum nine years, according to ABC 7.