Sentencing for an alleged Long Island gang member who caused a crash that killed five people on Valentine’s Day in Ridge last year was delayed after he failed to appear in court.
Jamel Turner, 25, of Bellport, reportedly refused to leave his jail cell on Tuesday, Aug. 6, when he was scheduled to be sentenced in Central Islip federal court. Turner has been seeking to file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which he submitted earlier this year.
Turner accepted a plea deal in April to serve 27 years in prison, followed by five years of probation after killing five people and a dog on Middle Country Road last year as he ran from police.
According to officials, Turner was attempting to flee from police in a stolen car, high on marijuana, while in possession of crack cocaine and driving more than 150 mph before crashing.
Turner was initially charged with five counts of second-degree murder for his role in the deaths of his friend Lonidell Skinner, 19, of Bellport, and four people in a car he hit while fleeing from police, Jacquelyn McCoy, 55, her daughter Mary Alice Booker, 36, and son Anthony McCoy, 33, and his girlfriend, Tameka Foster, 42.
Ultimately, Turner pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree assault and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide for each of those killed, another count of first-degree assault for another motorist whose spine was broken in the crash, driving while ability impaired by marijuana, and cocaine possession from a separate incident.
Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini has called the crash one of the worst crashes in Suffolk County history.
Reports state that if Turner continues to refuse to appear in court, he will waive his right to speak at his sentencing and he could face more time behind bars.
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