Despite their tearful pleas of mercy, two youths convicted in the "wilding" attack on a woman jogger in Central Park were ordered to prison at an angry sentencing in which the judge revealed death threats.
"Their behavior was cowardly, mindless, mob-induced madness," Justice Thomas Galligan said Wednesday of Kharey Wise, 18, and Kevin Richardson, 16, and their actions in the April 19, 1989, attack.But the judge gave a break to Wise, sentencing him to 5 to 15 years in an adult prison on his convictions for sexual abuse, assault and riot. Wise faced the toughest penalty because he was the only youth over 16 at the time of the attack. He could have been sentenced to 8 2/3 to 26 years in prison.
Richardson was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in a juvenile jail. It was the maximum penalty he faced on his convictions of attempted murder, rape, sodomy and robbery.
Shouts of "Freedom or death!" "Malcolm X! Live like him!" rang through the packed courtroom.
Suddenly, Galligan ordered court officers to grab a man hoisting a sign reading "We Know Where You Live" and arrest him on the spot.
Galligan revealed he has already been the target of numerous death threats and sentenced Raheem Howard, 20, a construction worker, to 30 days in jail.
Both teenagers used their final statements before sentencing to proclaim their innocence and to thank family and friends for their support.
Turning his back to the judge, a tearful Richardson cried to the packed courtroom, "Criminal justice railroads black and Hispanic people with no money. Don't worry. The truth will come out. I'm innocent. I'm never going to stop fighting."