Mother Of Teen Driver Who Killed Toddler Is Crazy For Defending Him

reyesI can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be the parent of a child who is guilty of a crime. I especially can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be the parent of a child who has killed another person. But I like to think that, while I would likely still love my child, I would want to see them held accountable. The mother of a boy who ran over a toddler and has been arrested multiple times since then does not see it the same way.

In June of 2013, Franklin Reyes, then 17, took his parents’ car without permission and without a license and went for a joyride in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. When he was pulled over by the cops he panicked and took off. It was while trying to flee from the police that he ran into four-year-old Ariel Russo and her grandmother, who were on their way to Ariel’s daycare. Ariel was killed, and her grandmother was seriously injured. Reyes was eventually released on $50,000 bond to await charges.

But Reyes’s trouble with the law didn’t end there. Not by a long shot. In September of 2014 he was arrested again, this time for looting the apartment of a dead woman who lived in the building where his father was superintendent. His father participated in the robbery with his son, because, role model. They were both charged with petit larceny.

But then, Reyes didn’t show up for his court hearing on the larceny charge and was rearrested. This time, the judge put him back in jail and raised his bail from $25,000 to $50,000. It was at that hearing that his mother, Lilia Reyes, first made known to the court that she is a bit heartless and insane, with maybe just a touch of woeful ignorance. From the New York Post:

Reyes’ mother, Lilia, shot back from the other side of the gallery, ”He’s innocent. He’s a kid, it was an accident!”


”My son didn’t plan it! He was a regular ordinary kid. He didn’t plan to kill anyone,” she wailed as court officers, trying to restore order, escorted her from the courtroom.


”For God sakes, have mercy. He was only 17. Please!”

But wait, there’s more.

Reyes was released on bail only to be arrested again in September, this time for dragging a cop 100 feet after a traffic stop. Oh, and he still didn’t have a driver’s license. His bail was revoked and he was charged with, “…fresh assault, reckless endangerment and driving, unlicensed driving and fleeing a police officer.” Reyes’ mother said that she was to blame for the incident, because, and I am completely serious, she said someone called Franklin on a stolen cell phone and told them to meet them uptown, and she let him go because she was worried his father had been kidnapped.


And then, oh my God, there was more. While meeting with prosecutors to discuss his case, he started complaining that his knee hurt. Again according to the New York Post, “He was limping dramatically and crying before collapsing on the ground twice, sources said.” Police took him to the hospital, where he — you guessed it — again tried to flee from the cops. It took police more than ten minutes to find him and put him back in custody.

Now, we finally come to yesterday’s hearing. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro, who has had entirely enough of this kid’s shit, withdrew a previous offer of “youthful offender status,” which would have carried with it a lesser sentence and no criminal record. Reyes now faces three to nine years in prison. If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “He could get out in three years?! Are you kidding me?” If you’re Lilia Reyes, you again start screaming about injustice:

”It’s not fair! There is not justice in this country!” shrieked Franklin Reyes’ mother, Lilia, as officers dragged her from the courtroom.”He was only 17!”

I can empathize with Lilia Reyes because it must be impossibly difficult to see your child go to prison. But that empathy is extremely limited given her child’s track record. At some point, you have to be able to say that while you love your child, they have made some extremely bad choices and they deserve to be punished for them. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that Reyes’ refusal to take responsibility for his own actions was likely abetted by the attitude of his mother that he should be pitied because he was “only 17.” When I say that, I am not trying to hold a mother responsible for her child’s actions, but to point out a pattern of parenting behavior that could not then and does not now help this boy. His mother continues to fight for him in a way that is unfeeling, unthinking, and reprehensible.

Ariel Russo’s parents, who were, by the way, in the courtroom when Lilia Reyes was yelling about getting justice for her son, had this to say to the Post about it:

”That really upset me that she would say there’s no justice, that it’s not fair,” said Sofia, standing next to her husband, Alan.

”Who knows better than us that it’s not fair? Our child is dead and hers is alive.”

(Photo of Lilia Reyes from Twitter via @Telemundo47)

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