The controversial case of Anthony Brown of Yonkers, which provoked protests in front of the Westchester County District Attorney's Office by the victim's mother as well as confrontations between supporters on both sides, was resolved last week when Brown agreed to a plea deal in Family Court in Yonkers, his lawyer said.
Brown was charged as a juvenile with criminally negligent homicide in the March 11 death of Dana Marie Regan, a Yonkers seventh-grader, along with drug and child-endangerment charges.
In last week's deal, Brown admitted to fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, and an 18-month sentence - three months of which he already served while waiting for his case to close.
Yesterday, the victim's mother, Cindi Brink, continued to protest that she did not get the treatment she was due from Family Court Judge Colleen Duffy, and she was arrested on two counts of disorderly conduct outside the court building on South Broadway. The charges were later reduced to a violation of the city’s noise ordinance, police said.
In particular, Brink said she was protesting because the judge threatened to throw her out of court if she cried, and because the judge did not allow her to make a victim-impact statement before sentencing. Instead, the judge allowed the mother to make a statement out of court to the Probation Department.
Duffy declined a request for an interview.
The mother's arrest yesterday was the latest flareup in a case that has seen Brink lobby Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to prosecute Brown as an adult and has seen supporters of Brown and Dana Marie Regan shout at each other outside the courtroom; the girl's side crying for justice, the boy's side for mercy.
From the start, Brink has claimed her child was duped into taking the pills or forced to take them by a friend of Brown's who wanted to sexually assault her.
From the start, Brown's lawyer claimed the boy was as much a victim of depression over his mother's recent death as the girl who willingly took the pills and died of acute methadone intoxication.
In the end, the circumstances surrounding how the girl came to ingest the fatal dose were not resolved by the plea deal, her mother said.
Moreover, the lawyer and the mother agreed that Brown's friends who were in the girl's house when the pills were supplied should be treated as accomplices.
Yonkers police would only say yesterday that Brown's case had been closed with his June 11 sentencing, and that the investigation was continuing.
What was clear during the three-month proceeding in Family Court was that Brown took the prescription methadone pills from his father's drawer and brought them to Dana Marie Regan, knowing they were powerful painkillers.
"There is no defense for that," Brown's lawyer, Kenneth L. Bunting, said yesterday. "Anthony has admitted this from day one."
Brown, himself, told police he took two pills because he was depressed and later felt sick to his stomach. Dana Marie Regan took about four pills, Brown told police.
Methadone is a morphine substitute used in treating heroin addiction and chronic pain. It is lethal in high doses because it can stop a person's breathing.
"We are devastated as a family," Brink said yesterday, before she was arrested. "I needed this young man to go away with thoughts of what he has done to us."
The boy's lawyer said Brown was already well aware that some people think he killed Dana Marie Regan.
After Brown completes his rehabilitation, he will carry that burden of blame for what happened, the lawyer insisted.
The mother disagreed.
"This boy killed my daughter and he left the courtroom smiling," Brink said, moments before she went to protest outside Family Court. "If he listened to me, he would not have been smiling. A tear would have been coming out of his eye."
Reach Rob Ryser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-666-6489.
My two cents...
I don't think there are any winers in this story..
Two young lives and the lives of those that love them are forever destroyed.... what a shame.