WINSTON Charleston, 14, never shed a tear yesterday while reading an apology letter before being sentenced for causing a fatal car accident during a June 30 late-night joyride.
His mother, Barbara Newton, cried so hard that - for a time - she had to leave the courtroom inside the Family Court building on Vine Street.
Karen Fouracre, the mother of his victim, Daniel Fouracre, 22, used her hands and the shoulders of friends to suppress her anguish. Bruce Fouracre, the victim's father, struggled with his emotions while reading a victim-impact statement in which he said the loss of his son has tested his family's faith in God.
Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty picked up on Charleston's seeming lack of emotion, prompting him to read the youth the riot act and to warn him that he was now a resident of the judge's world.
"It's good to make these statements, but I have to be honest with you: I wasn't feeling your letter," Dougherty chided Charleston.
"I think you are dangerous, and I will not let you walk the streets of Philadelphia."
In keeping with an agreement announced Nov. 23 between Assistant District Attorney Beth McCaffery and defense attorney James P. Lyons, Dougherty adjudicated Charleston as delinquent on charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and related counts.
The agreement calls for Charleston to spend four years in juvenile-treatment programs: the first three years at Glen Mills Schools, a Delaware County residential program for court-adjudicated youth, and the fourth year at a location to be determined by Dougherty.
Charleston will be on probation until he is 21.
The teen - who turned 14 three days before the accident on Academy Road in the Northeast - initially was charged with third-degree murder and as an adult.
Dougherty told Charleston that due to a change in law, a sample of his DNA will remain on file with the Pennsylvania State Police.
The judge told Fouracre's parents that he would monitor Charleston closely over the next four years to ensure he gets the therapy, treatment and education required for his rehabilitation.
"I can assure you that this defendant will adhere to the rules, or he will be back before me," Dougherty said.