MAYFAIR and Holmesburg residents were steaming when they left a Philadelphia courtroom yesterday after watching a judge brush aside requests from city prosecutors to imprison the man dubbed the "Mayfair Tire Slasher."
Instead of sending David Toledo, 46, to state prison for the recommended five to 10 years, Common Pleas Judge Edward C. Wright ordered him to serve two years of probation and to make restitution of $916 in total to the 12 neighbors whose tires he was convicted of slashing over several months in 2012.
Wright told a crying Toledo that he had "agonized" over the sentence and cited the German philosopher Immanuel Kant's concepts of social order and moral responsibility before handing down the sentence.
It translated to a miscarriage of justice to Milt Martelack, who was president of Mayfair Town Watch during the slashings from January through April 2012.
"This goes a lot further than tires being slashed. This man tormented the community for months on end, he went on the record and made a spectacle of himself through the media," Martelack said after leaving court.
"It's extremely disappointing for these victims that had to endure having their tires being slashed," he added. "There was no lesson taught here. I think the courts have failed the community in this particular case."
Assistant District Attorneys Lauren McHale and Tracie Gaydos argued that Toledo's motive in tormenting his working-class neighbors was the "sick and twisted" thrill of being in the spotlight.
Toledo, a high-school dropout and former butcher, became a self-appointed Mayfair spokesman during the slashings by speaking out against the culprit on television and in newspapers.
The investigation eventually led to his arrest that April and charges that he slashed the tires of 49 neighbors on Aldine and Teesdale streets between Frankford Avenue and Erdrick Street in Holmesburg. In February a jury acquitted Toledo of all but 12 of the slashings.
In addition to the 12 slashings, Toledo was convicted of two counts of possession of an instrument of crime and one count of false reporting.
Yesterday, he said he was grateful to the judge for not sending him to prison and to his trial attorneys, William J. Brennan and Richard Fuschino.
"We're not going to appeal it. I'm very satisfied with the two-year probation outcome," he said as he and his wife, Yvonne, left the courtroom. "I was innocent."