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4 Teens Get Maximum in Subway Tourist Murder

January 3, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ Four teen-agers convicted in the ″wolfpack″ subway killing of a Utah tourist who tried to protect his mother from muggers were sentenced Friday to the maximum 25 years to life.

State Supreme Court Justice Edwin Torres, alluding to testimony from the victim’s mother, said the image of a woman holding her dying son, murdered before her eyes, ″is a visitation the devil himself would hesitate to conjure up.″

The judge said he agreed with the jury that all the youths were equally guilty of the murder although none of them actually stabbed the victim.

″The sentences reflect that parity of guilt,″ he said. ″When you run with a wolfpack such as this, it matters not whether you are in the vanguard or the rear guard. You’re in.″

Four others, including the teen-ager accused of stabbing 22-year-old Brian Watkins, of Provo, Utah, are to go on trial in February.

The defendants told police they committed the robbery to get the $15 admission to Roseland, a nearby dance hall.

Pascal Carpenter, Johnny Hincapie, Ricardo Nova and Emiliano Fernandez, all 19, were convicted Dec. 10 of felony murder and robbery in Watkins death.

Before the sentencing, the defendants were given an opportunity to address the court. ″I didn’t know he had a knife,″ Carpenter said, alluding to the alleged stabber. ″I didn’t know anybody had a knife.″

Hincapie told the judge: ″I’m very sorry for the loss of their son. ... I ask you in the name of Jesus Christ to give me some type of chance.″

The victim’s parents had no apparent reaction to the sentences.

But Watkins’ father, Sherwin Watkins, said before the sentencing that he wanted the maximum sentence.

The killing, during an especially violent summer in New York, stunned many New Yorkers and drew nationwide attention.

Watkins was with his family and two other family members in a mid-Manhattan subway station just outside the theater district on Sept. 2, 1990, when they were attacked by a gang of youths.

The family was in town to attend the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and were going to dinner when they were jumped.

Watkins was stabbed when he tried to protect his mother, Karen, who had been punched in the face and kicked in the chest. His father was knocked down, slashed across the buttocks and robbed of $200.

In the interview before the sentencing, Sherwin Watkins, 47, said he believed the four were equally guilty. ″They could not have done it if they hadn’t acted together,″ he said.

Mrs. Watkins agreed, agreed, adding: ″I don’t think they should be on the streets so they can ever do this to anybody else. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what we’ve gone through.″

She expressed compassion for the defendants’ parents, saying she understands their sense of loss and disappointment. ″But I would tell them to support their sons,″ she said.

The Watkins family followed up their December 1990 notice of intent to sue the city and several of its agencies by filing a full complaint in state Supreme Court, a trial court in New York, on Nov. 25.

The complaint, which asks $500 million, charges the city, the Transit Authority, the Emergency Medical Service and other agencies with negligence and malpractice leading to Brian’s wrongful death.

The suit charges that the subway token clerk failed to call police, that there were no working public telephones on the subway platform, and that the area was generally unsafe.

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