Franklin Reyes, the unlicensed teenage driver accused of striking and killing four-year-old Ariel Russo on the Upper West Side last year, is back in jail after a Manhattan judge doubled his bail. Reyes, who was 17 at the time of the toddler's death, was arrested again last month after allegedly robbing a recently deceased woman's apartment; his mother begged the judge to "have mercy" on him, but his bail was set at $50,000.
Reyes, now 18, was charged with manslaughter in connection with Ariel's death, and now faces a petit larceny charge for allegedly looting a Chelsea apartment with his father in June. He is considered a flight risk, according to Justice Gregory Carro of State Supreme Court, who doubled his bail from $25K to $50K yesterday. His mother, Lilia, called out against the ruling in court, claiming her son was innocent. "My son didn’t plan it! He was a regular ordinary kid. He didn’t plan to kill anyone,” she reportedly cried out, as court officers removed her. “For God sakes, have mercy. He was only 17. Please!”
Ariel's mother, Sophia Russo, slammed Lillia for her outburst in court. “I can’t believe that she would say, ‘My son is innocent. He’s just a kid. Have mercy on him,’" she told CBS 2. "I can’t believe that she would say that to me because her child is still alive, and I had to see my child just laying dead on a hospital stretcher."
Reyes's attorney hopes to work out a plea deal that would allow him to be sentenced as a youthful offender, cutting his sentence down from five to 15 years in prison to just 16 to 18 months behind bars.