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  1. #1
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 13, 2002






    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TAMPA -- Driving a souped-up sports car nicknamed Ricochet, Richard Delrio hit and killed a young mother as she pushed her newborn girl across the street in November 2000.

    Two weeks ago, jurors decided it was vehicular homicide.

    But in a rare move Monday, a judge tossed out the jury's verdict, calling the death an accident and setting 19-year-old Delrio free.

    Prosecutors argued that Delrio ran a stop sign in his Mitsubishi Eclipse and cut a corner too sharply when he struck 26-year-old Michele Calta, whose last act before death was to push the baby in the stroller to safety.

    Defense attorney Joe Episcopo told the judge that the death was the result of Delrio's "inattentiveness," rather than criminal recklessness and criticized the jury's finding of guilt as "an emotional verdict."

    In tossing out the verdict, Hillsborough Circuit Judge J. Rogers Padgett agreed that there was no criminal act.

    After the ruling, Michael Calta, the victim's brother-in-law, said his family was "shocked and devastated."

    "How can you not be angry at the judge?" Calta said. "The only thing we had after the loss of Michele, after two years of agony, was that one door was finally closed" with the jury's verdict. "And now it's wide open again."

    Judge Padgett explained his reasoning in court Monday:

    "She was in the street, it was broad daylight, and this guy mowed her down," he said. While it was difficult to understand how such a thing could happen, Padgett said, "that's an accident. There's nothing particularly egregious about that except for the fact that somebody got killed. There's nothing particularly egregious about the act itself."

    Experts estimated that Delrio had been traveling 17 to 26 mph in a 25-mph zone when his car struck Calta on Branch Mooring Drive near her home in Countryway. Since it could not be established that he was speeding, Episcopo said, the act would not amount to criminal recklessness, even if Delrio had run the stop sign.

    "It's ordinary negligence," Episcopo said. "It's a civil matter."

    However, prosecutor Art McNeil argued that Delrio had done more than just run a stop sign: He had turned on the wrong side of the road to take the curve sharply, as was his habit at that intersection. McNeil asked the judge if he had considered trial testimony about Delrio's bad driving habits.

    The judge appeared to give it little weight, replying that in his years on the bench, "I've never heard the phrase "habit testimony.' "

    Afterward, the prosecutor called the judge's ruling "extremely unusual," especially because the judge had twice rejected defense motions for acquittal during the trial. The state vowed to appeal.

    Delrio faced up to 15 years in prison at his sentencing, which had been scheduled for September. But the sentencing was canceled and his $10,000 bail revoked.

    "He's a free man," McNeil said.

    Particularly galling to the victim's family, Michael Calta said, was Delrio's driving history. Before he hit Calta, Delrio had points on his driver's license for running a red light, making an improper lane change and driving with his headlights off. One of those caused an accident.

    "He was driving on a restricted license when he killed Michele," Calta said. In fact, Delrio's license allowed him to drive only to and from school, work and church.

    Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober said he could not recall a case in his 25-year career in Hillsborough in which a judge had completely thrown out a jury's finding of guilt.

    Because Padgett's ruling came after the jury's verdict, the state can appeal, said state attorney spokeswoman Pam Bondi. If the judge had dismissed the case during the trial, the state would not have been able to do so.

    Delrio and his mother declined to comment, referring questions to their attorney.

    "Accidents like this happen all the time," Episcopo said. "They're not really always criminal." Expressing sympathy for Calta's family, Episcopo said it was not an occasion for celebration, but added, "We're just happy that justice was done."

    -- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Christopher Goffard can be reached at 813-226-3337 or goffard@sptimes.com.


    Gee what a wonderful world you can kill a newborn's mom and get off as long as you do it with a car, That (bite tongue) individual will have mega bad karma for a looooooooooooooooong time that is unless something unfortunate were to happen.
    Last edited by Raiyn; 10-08-04 at 10:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    The guy who killed her is actually a waste of space, taking up the room that could have been better occupied by a dogs turd. If there were such a thing as reincarnation - knowing his luck, the wanker would come back as himself!

    Stories like that really gall me. Proves again that under law, the criminal has more protection and rights than his victim. Maybe some biker can run him down head on in the balls and cut off the breeding potential.

    Sorry, guys. But I'm really pissed off by this.

  3. #3
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    How did a 19 yo get a "souped up sports car"? Mommy and/or Daddy most likely had something to do with that decision. That was the first mistake. They might as well have given him a loaded gun.

    This judge is bound to be reversed on appeal. It takes a huge boo boo to throw out a jury verdict.
    Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...

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    It is a very sad world we live in now. Up here in New England (Cape Cod), I hear and read similar stories. Everyone is rushing to get somewhere and not really caring about the other person. with all the so called advances that we have made, maybe the 60's wasn't that bad after all.

  5. #5
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    Truly unbelievable. You just have to think that someone got to this judge. It's just a ridiculous ruling.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    Originally posted by oceanrider
    How did a 19 yo get a "souped up sports car"? Mommy and/or Daddy most likely had something to do with that decision. That was the first mistake. They might as well have given him a loaded gun.
    It's not hard to get a "sports car" at 19. Cars are easily purchased as long as the person has a job. All they need is a bank willing to give the money.
    I had a 65 Impala SS with approx 400 HP at 19 that I bought without mom or dad. Would not recommend it for most testosterone driven teenage males.

  7. #7
    Skin-Pounder Bikes-N-Drums's Avatar
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    My mother lives in Tampa and throughout my visiting the area, I've notice a let's say, rather creative approach to the justice system there.
    We are the musicmakers and we are the dreamers of dreams...

  8. #8
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Originally posted by oceanrider
    How did a 19 yo get a "souped up sports car"? Mommy and/or Daddy most likely had something to do with that decision. That was the first mistake. They might as well have given him a loaded gun.
    I have to agree with this!!

    I have some good friends with a 17 year old son who must have "reliable" transportation to get to work and school. He told his parents he wanted a 2001 TransAm. (Is a TransAm the only reliable transportation available?).
    He wrecked that car after 3 months. He now has a 2002 TransAm. He has already had an accident with this car.
    We have talked with his parents about getting a small car for this kid. They understand what we are saying but said he is paying for it (they are only cosigning for the loan) so what can they do. :confused:

    I guess this kid will be in the next one in the news.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2011 Felt Z4

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH
    [B]

    snip snip ... They understand what we are saying but said he is paying for it (they are only cosigning for the loan) so what can they do. :confused:

    I guess this kid will be in the next one in the news.
    Hmmm ... Just a thought .... did they ever consider not co-signing? :confused:

  10. #10
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Isn't Florida where they have a hard time puncing a hole in a card?

    Maybe the judge is simply agreeing with the popular notion that no one is responsible for anything anymore.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  11. #11
    Goes both ways - MTB/RB LegalIce's Avatar
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    Anyone know if judges are elected or appointed in Florida? If elected, ya gotta make sure this case stays fresh in the minds of any reasonable person in the area that knows how to vote...

    ...also was there any mention of a civil suit against the 19 year old punk? Get a huge $$$ verdict against the dweeb and make him pay that instead of for the car...some revenge even if the criminal law fails...and the verdict will haunt him for life every time he has to pay more to the victim's family to pay the verdict...
    bi·cy·cle Pronunciation Key (bskl, -s-kl, -skl) n.
    A vehicle consisting of a light frame mounted on two wire-spoked wheels one behind the other and having a seat, handlebars for steering, brakes, and two pedals...
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  12. #12
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH


    I have to agree with this!!

    I have some good friends with a 17 year old son who must have "reliable" transportation to get to work and school. He told his parents he wanted a 2001 TransAm. (Is a TransAm the only reliable transportation available?).
    He wrecked that car after 3 months. He now has a 2002 TransAm. He has already had an accident with this car.
    We have talked with his parents about getting a small car for this kid. They understand what we are saying but said he is paying for it (they are only cosigning for the loan) so what can they do. :confused:

    I guess this kid will be in the next one in the news.


    My parents put it to me quite clearly and eloquently.

    MY HOUSE MY RULES DON'T LIKE IT THERE'S THE DOOR!!
    I could rant for a week about "Daddilacs." I have had to earn everything I have ever gotten (no car untill I was 19, and no "Dad, can I borrow the car?")

  13. #13
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    ON the subject of how a 19 year old gets a sports car, how does he afford the insurance.

    Mine is $1000 per year. Listening to some young guys talk at the gym once, one of them said he ios paying $5000 per year for his Z22. He was oh 19 or 20.

    Cripes, where do they get the money for a car payment AND insurance.

    Just last night I was watching TV and they had a show on about this guy who develops police radar blocking devices, and they where demonstrating how well it worked, so you won;t get a speeding ticket. JEEZ!! Do I have to point out the stupidness of this? The cop on the show said "save your money and just drive the speed limit" GOOD!

    People have to drive fast, and just HAVE to own a 400hp car. WHY?

    Pi$$es me off!

    Digger

  14. #14
    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    Originally posted by digger

    People have to drive fast, and just HAVE to own a 400hp car. WHY?
    If you have to ask why, then you've never driven one.

  15. #15
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    They say justice is blind, but in this case she's missing her whole damn head. I hate hearing stories like this. It's just one more example of a whole generation of kids learning that they don't have to take responsibility for their actions. Ah, but that's another rant for another day....

    It's too bad this puke won't be going to jail but perhaps a more fitting punishment would be forcing him to live with the horror of what he has done every single day for the rest of his life. I wonder how easy it will be for him to detach from the situation.... to 'dehumanize' the woman he killed and slowly forget? Too bad there wasn't a way, without causing more agony for the victim's family, to force this a**hole to see the pain he has caused them. To force him to feel some sense of remorse and guilt. To force him to remember this woman's face (as he's running her down) as the last thing he sees before he falls asleep.

    I can't imagine what it will take for this family to overcome such a tragedy.

  16. #16
    Senior Member joeprim's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LegalIce

    ...also was there any mention of a civil suit against the 19 year old punk? Get a huge $$$ verdict against the dweeb and make him pay that instead of for the car...some revenge even if the criminal law fails...and the verdict will haunt him for life every time he has to pay more to the victim's family to pay the verdict...
    Except that a lawer would also make money on it I could like this. We put folks in jail too often. In this case he should just have to pay the baby at least untill it is 18 maybe forever.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    All I have to say about that rulling is BULL****
    I know we do not use language like that here but stuff like that really pisses me off.

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