‘Morally Depraved’: Driver in Valentine’s Day Crash That Killed 5 Asks Judge to Withdraw Guilty Plea Before He is Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison
Jamel Turner also refused to leave his cell for sentencing, prompting judge to issue ultimatum
What to Know
- The driver who pleaded guilty to a Valentine’s Day 2018 crash that killed five, wants to withdraw his guilty plea on day of sentencing
- Jamel Turner was also a no-show at court for his sentencing Tuesday
- Judge rejected the motion and told Turner’s lawyer that if Turner does not come to court Tuesday afternoon, he will be sentenced to life
The driver who pleaded guilty to causing a high-speed crash that killed five people on Valentine’s Day 2018 in Long Island has not only refused to leave his prison cell for sentencing Tuesday but asked the judge to withdraw his guilty plea.
However, according to the judge presiding over the case, Jamel Turner’s attempts to delay justice did not work.
Judge Fernando Camacho rejected the motion and told Turner's lawyer, Scott Gross, that if Turner does not come to court Tuesday afternoon, he will be sentenced to life in prison.
In the end, Turner was sentenced to 27 years in prison -- the amount of time the alleged Bloods gang member agreed to when he accepted a plea deal in connection to killing five people in Ridge while driving high on Feb. 14, 2018.
Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini called Turner a “despicable individual” and said he doesn’t care if he is sentenced to life or 27 years in prison.
On Tuesday, the 25-year-old, of Bellport, refused to come to court for sentencing, attempted to withdraw his guilty plea and even accused his lawyer of incompetence. However, while Turner did eventually apologize, the judge called his apology a "feeble insincere attempt to express remorse" and chastised that he cared about no one but himself.
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"You are morally depraved," the judge said.
Gross refused to comment, as did Turner's family members.
Turner pleaded guilty in March to five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, one count of driving while ability impaired by drugs and one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.
Prosecutors say Turner was driving a stolen Chevrolet Camaro east at 154 mph on Route 25 in Ridge around 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2018 when he crashed into a Mazda that was going the same direction.
The impact forced the Mazda into another eastbound car. Turner also hit an oil truck that was traveling west, prosecutors said.
All of the Mazda passengers — Jacquelyn McCoy, 55, her daughter Mary Alice Booker, 36, her son Anthony McCoy, 33, and his girlfriend Tameka Foster, 42 — were pronounced dead at the scene, according to prosecutors.
Turner’s passenger Lonidell Skinner, 19, died after he was ejected from the Camaro. Turner’s dog also died in the crash.
Video from the scene showed firefighters hosing down the smoking, charred wreckage of a car as police investigated on a road littered with auto parts and debris.
Prosecutors say Turner was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash and had crack cocaine on him.