A family’s heartache at losing its patriarch to a drunken driver left many in a Central Islip courtroom — including the judge and prosecutor — struggling for composure Tuesday.
The occasion was the sentencing of Sean Carpenter, 26, of Medford, who had pleaded guilty in September to second-degree manslaughter.
He drove drunk and on drugs on Rocky Point-Yaphank Road on June 22, 2016, crashing head-on into a car driven by Jose Amaya, 55, of Medford, killing him. As part of his plea deal, Carpenter was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison.
“Look at me,” Amaya’s wife, Guadelupe Amaya, said to Carpenter through a Spanish interpreter, as her children sobbed behind her. “Look at my children’s faces. . . . I cannot forgive you. Only God can forgive you.”
A daughter, Rose Amaya, told Carpenter that her father “was an innocent man going to make a living” when he was killed.
“I forgive you, Mr. Carpenter, for what you did, but I don’t forget what you did,” she said, turning to face state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho. “I don’t wish bad upon him, but he should pay for what he did.”
Another of the victim’s five daughters, Anna Amaya, said sobbing she could not find the same forgiveness. Carpenter’s face began to turn red as he began to cry, too.
“You stand there and cry like you care, but you don’t,” she said. “My father was everything to everyone who is here. . . . I feel bad for your mom. I feel bad that she has to live with the fact that her son is scum. You took my mother’s whole life from her.”
When it was his turn to speak, Carpenter — wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the words “The End” on it — agreed he did not deserve forgiveness.
“I deserve everything that I get,” he said, through tears. “I wish that some day you guys find peace, I really do. You don’t have to forgive me at all.”
Camacho told the Amaya family he believed that Carpenter will be tormented by what he did long after he gets out of prison.
“It’s a life sentence, but not like yours,” the judge said. “He deserves it, and you don’t.”
But Camacho said Carpenter did deserve some consideration for sparing the family weeks of pain that a trial would cause and years of uncertainty during an appeal.
He praised the Amaya family for their “courage, strength, grace and the class you’ve shown in this courtroom today. It speaks volumes about your father.” He called Jose Amaya one of society’s unsung heroes, who worked hard to provide for his family.
To Carpenter, Camacho said: “You, because of your irresponsibility, killed a hero. And you’re going to have to live with that.”