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Man gets life for crash that killed two teens

on June 23, 2013 2:20 AM

MEDIA (AP) — A Philadelphia-area man has been sentenced to life in prison in a hit-and-run crash that killed two 15-year-old youths.

Maurquis Thompson, 21, of Chester was convicted in Delaware County in April of third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and other counts.

Authorities said he was on probation and driving without a license in December 2011 when he ran a red light in Glenolden and struck Michael Taylor and Mark McNeill as they crossed Chester Pike. Authorities said Thompson initially denied having driven the car, which was found inoperable a few blocks away, and texted his girlfriend to report the car stolen.

Thompson, who later said he was looking in his rearview mirror and was unaware that he had struck anyone, apologized to relatives of the victims Friday, but some turned their back on him in the courtroom.

“I really did not know somebody was hurt,” he said. “I messed up and there’s nothing I can do about it now. I didn’t mean to hurt those kids.”

Defense attorney Earl Raynor sought a reduced sentence, arguing that a life term would be “grossly disproportionate.”

Prosecutor Geoff Paine said Thompson was out on bail on drug and weapons counts at the time of the crash, and the verdict indicated that jurors concluded he acted with malice.

Eileen Taylor said Thompson had not been convicted of his greatest crime: the theft of everything her son Michael wanted to accomplish in life, and of being able to watch him do so.

“You stole from me watching him grown up and becoming the man he was trying to be. ... You stole from me my family as it was when it was whole,” she said.

Mark’s mother, Missy McNeil, said “only a heartless coward” could flee after such a crash.

“Only a monster could turn around, look at the boys’ bodies in the road and then drive off, leaving them there to die like trash,” she said. “No human could possibly do that.”

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