In an rare ruling from the bench, a Philadelphia judge on Tuesday acquitted an East Mount Airy man of vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter in a car-bike crash that killed an off-duty police officer who was his romantic rival.
Common Pleas Court Judge Lillian H. Ransom's acquittal of Kareem Alleyne in the July 15, 2012, death of 35-year-old Marc Brady came after three days of testimony and moments after the prosecution case ended.
Alleyne, 36, a tall, thin man dressed in a business suit, bent over to embrace his defense attorney, James Funt.
"Thank you, thank you," Alleyne cried.
Afterward, outside court, Alleyne, a bank manager, said it was a "great relief. I'm thankful the court heard the case and gave a ruling in my favor."
Alleyne said he had been unemployed since being charged in Brady's death.
"I've got to start over," Alleyne said. "But at least I have the opportunity now to go back to school and apply for more work."
Ransom ruled on a defense motion for a directed verdict of acquittal. Made outside the jury's presence after the prosecution's case ends, such a motion maintains that the prosecution's evidence is insufficient to let a jury deliberate on a verdict.
Motions for acquittal are rarely granted. Funt said Ransom's decision shows the evidence did not prove Alleyne drove his car recklessly or meant to hit Brady.
"It was simply an unfortunate death, but Mr. Alleyne had no motivation to want to hurt Officer Brady," Funt said.
"I strongly disagree with the judge's decision," said Assistant District Attorney Mark Levenberg. "The evidence was that this was very clearly an avoidable accident and he didn't avoid it."
In his opening argument to the jury of eight women and four men, Levenberg said a "history of bad blood" between the men helped cause the confrontation and collision.
Levenberg said Brady, an officer for eight years, had been in a long-term relationship with Romora Glenn, the mother of six of his nine children.
But that relationship ended in 2010, Levenberg continued, and Glenn began dating Alleyne, a coworker at his bank.
Brady, however, was jealous of the new relationship, and over the next 18 months he stalked and threatened Alleyne.
"Unpredictable, insanely jealous, and with a license to carry a gun. That unholy trinity was who Officer Marc Brady really was," said Funt in his opening to the jury.
By July 2012, according to testimony, Alleyne had filed a complaint against Brady with Internal Affairs after the officer showed up at his house in the middle of the night, pounded on the door, damaged a window, and frightened his mother.
It was raining at 11:40 p.m. July 15 when Alleyne left Glenn's house in the 6800 block of Musgrave Street and began driving home in his Acura TL sedan.
Alleyne later told investigators he spotted Brady about 11/2 blocks away, riding his bicycle toward him on Musgrave Street.
Alleyne told police he hoped to make the turn on Meehan Street and avoid a confrontation but got trapped between parked cars. He said he was driving about 15 m.p.h. when Brady hit the center of his hood, fell off the bike, and was dragged about 70 feet.
Brady was pronounced dead shortly after midnight at Einstein Medical Center.
Levenberg argued that the fact Alleyne saw Brady more than a block away gave him plenty of time to avoid the crash.
Funt argued that Alleyne had just two seconds to try to avoid the crash.