Jogger Convict: ‘Give me the Max’; Gets his Wish
NEW YORK (AP) _ Three defiant teen-agers, including one who challenged the judge to ″Give me the max,″ received maximum sentences Tuesday of five to 10 years in prison for the rape and assault of a woman jogger in Central Park.
Judge Thomas Galligan denounced the three for showing only defiance. He described them as ″mindless marauders seeking a thrill″ who turned the park into a torture chamber.
Although the seriousness of the charges allowed the youths to be tried as adults, Galligan had to sentence them as juveniles because they were under age 16 when the jogger was attacked. An adult would have faced up to eight and one-third to 25 years in prison.
If their appeals fail, the youths will be eligible for parole in five years.
Yusef Salaam and Antron McCray, each 16, and Raymond Santana, 15, were convicted Aug. 18 of attacking the woman and assaulting two men during a ″wilding″ spree that night. They were acquitted of the top count of attempted murder and a lesser count of sodomy.
The jogger, an investment banker, was attacked on April 19, 1989, while running in a relatively isolated section of Central Park.
Race - she was white, her alleged attackers were black or Hispanic - and the city’s growing concern with street crime made the case a sensation.
The woman, then 28, suffered brain damage, lost at least three-fourths of her blood and spent two weeks in a coma, doctors said. The woman, whose name has been left out of news reports, testified that she has continuing vision, balance and other problems, and has no memory of the attack.
She battled back from her near-fatal injuries, eventually returning to her Wall Street firm, where she is now a vice president. She also has resumed jogging.
Each of the youths addressed the court before Galligan sentenced them.
Salaam was the most defiant. He read a rambling, rap-style poem he said he had composed in jail before he was bailed out.
″I look upon this legal lynching as a test by my God Allah,″ he told Galligan. ″I and many others know I told the truth. I would never disrespect my own religion by lying.″
″Give me the max,″ he said. ″Sooner or later the truth will come out.″
McCray told the judge: ″I’m not going to let this stop me. I’m going to make it.″
Santana, whose tone was the mildest, said simply: ″Everyone knows I’m innocent of the crime. I never did it.″
Before he announced the sentence, Galligan said that ″the intensity of the violence that occurred that night is something no rational mind can explain.″
He denied motions to have the three sentenced in Family Court, saying: ″Is sexual brutality of a woman something that’s acceptable or tolerable because it happens at the hands of a 14- or 15-year-old? The answer is obvious.″
Salaam had a new attorney at the sentencing: William Kunstler, who implied that the defendants’ videotaped confessions were coerced: ″We all know what black youths in back rooms will say to white cops.″
″I don’t expect anything to happen here other than the judge to sign the maximum,″ he told Galligan. ″I’m so sure of it I’ve already filled out appeal papers.″
During the trial, a detective testified that Santana told him he counted 33 youths who entered the park the night of the attacks to ″ ‘wild’ some joggers ... beat up and rip off joggers and cyclists.″
McCray said on videotape that when the youths saw the jogger during her nightly six-mile run, ″We all charged her.″
He said she struggled and screamed while several teen-agers dragged her down a wooded slope into the darkness.
On his tape, Santana admitted holding and kicking the woman and feeling her breasts while others raped her.
McCray said he kicked her, then held for the others. When it was his turn, McCray said, he feigned the sex act to impress his buddies.
The defendants told detectives the naked woman was struck with a metal pipe, bashed in the head and face with a brick, cut on the legs with a knife and sexually attacked in a frenzy of violence, prosecutors said.
Galligan has set a trial date of Oct. 11 for two other defendants, Kharey Wise, 18, and Kevin Richardson, 15. Another defendant, Steve Lopez, 15, will be tried separately next year.