Ivan Rodriguez and Donta Craddock, the two men charged with causing the car crash in which three children and a young mother were killed June 10, were held for trial on second-degree murder and related charges this afternoon.
During a two-and-a-half hour preliminary hearing in Philadelphia municipal court, the first police officer to arrive at the death scene broke down recalling seeing "little mangled bodies" and a woman trying to lift Craddock's car off of the lone adult victim.
Police said the crash occurred after the defendants fled Rising Sun Avenue where they had just stolen a man's motorcycle at gunpoint. Rodriguez, 20, on the motorcycle, went in one direction while Craddock, 18, who drove a silver Pontiac belonging to Rodriguez's girlfriend rode off in the opposite direction.
Some five minutes later, Craddock lost control of the car and plowed into a group of people on a sidewalk on 3rd Street near Annsbury, in Feltonville.
Killed were Remedy Smith, 11 months; Aaliyah Griffin, 6; Gina Marie Rosario, 7, and Remedy's mother, LaToya Smith, 22, who died the next day.
In addition to second-degree murder charges, both men were held on conspiracy, recklessly endangering another person, and weapons counts.
Judge David Shuter, however, agreed with Rodriguez's attorney, Guy Sciolla, and dropped homicide by vehicle charges against him while holding Craddock on that charge as well.
Craddock, who was paralyzed from the waist down in the crash, listened to the testimony from a wheelchair. He has lost the use of his left side and part of his right said, his attorney, Mike Farrell, after the hearing.
About 30 family members of the victims attended the hearing, some wearing memorial T-shirts with the victims' faces on them and slogans such as "3rd Street Angels."