A West Philadelphia man was sentenced to 111/2 to 23 months in prison Tuesday for throwing a cup of scalding-hot coffee on a doughnut shop cashier as they argued about his bill.
"I want to apologize to the victim for the harm I caused her," David Timbers told Common Pleas Court Judge Rayford A. Means. "There's no excuse for what I've done."
Means sentenced Timbers, 54, well below the 48 to 66 months in prison recommended by state sentencing guidelines, because, he said, he wanted the victim's medical bills reimbursed as soon as possible.
"I think basically what we have here is a good person who had a bad, bad day," Means said.
Timbers will be in a Philadelphia prison at night, but released during the daytime to work to pay $1,122 restitution to cashier Sokchea Luy.
Means ordered Timbers to undergo anger-management counseling and said he may not stop taking his medications for mental illness without doctor approval. This provision was added after Timbers said he was trying to wean himself from his medications in a prison Bible class.
Means also put Timbers on 13 years of probation and, in what may be a challenging part of the sentence, ordered him to never again set foot inside Fresh Donuts on Lancaster Avenue near 39th Street.
"I won't ever go there again," Timbers affirmed.
Timbers' lawyer, Shaka Johnson, said Fresh Donuts was Timbers' favorite and he was a daily customer until 11:05 a.m. May 8, 2012.
That was the morning - caught on store surveillance video - that Timbers got into an argument with Luy, then 27, as he prepared to leave with his sandwich and coffee.
Luy said Timbers hadn't paid. Timbers said that he did and that she owed him $2.40 in change. That's when he grabbed a cup of coffee from the cashier and threw it back at her, causing second-degree burns along her upper arm.
Johnson said Timbers had not yet taken his meds - Prozac and Seroquel - because he needed to take them with food.
"He had a bad moment," Johnson said.
Timbers, who worked for a car rental company before becoming disabled, pleaded guilty to aggravated and simple assault, a weapons count involving the coffee, and reckless endangerment. Originally free on $25,000 bail, Timbers further complicated things by failing to appear at his original sentencing on June 7, 2013. Means revoked bail and Timbers has since been in custody.
Assistant District Attorney Morgan Model Vedejs read a victim impact letter from Luy, a Cambodian immigrant, in which she described the continuing impact of the scars from her burns.
"She is embarrassed at the scars on her arm," Vedejs said. "She feels showing them would be shaming her family."