He waived extradition. Now Julio Acevedo, 44, should wave goodbye to freedom.
Flanked by four armed guards, his hands and feet shackled to a leather belt across his faded jailhouse jumpsuit, Acevedo stutter-stepped in state-issued sandals in front of Lehigh County Court Judge Kelly Banach on Thursday.
With a desperado’s face only a mugshot photographer could love, Acevedo listened to a local district attorney advise the judge that the suspect wanted to waive extradition to Brooklyn, where he was wanted in the Sunday hit-and-run wreck that killed Nachman and Raizel Glauber, both 21. Their baby boy, who was born by Caesarean section, died after living but a single day.
Waiting back in Brooklyn was a grieving city and a Satmar Hasidic community screaming for triple murder charges against Acevedo, who allegedly sped at 60 mph in a borrowed BMW that T-boned the livery cab the young couple were riding in.
A source said forensic teams were scouring the killer BMW for saliva or other bodily fluids that could be tested for drugs or alcohol.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said his office would charge Acevedo with “the most serious crime available.”
Late Thursday, a haggard Acevedo was arraigned on one count of leaving the scene of an accident, three counts of criminally negligent homicide, three counts of third-degree assault, two counts of speeding, and one count of reckless driving. He was not charged with vehicular manslaughter, as had been predicted.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Stephen Antignani ordered Acevedo held without bail, granted an order of protection for the cab driver and suspended Acevedo’s driver’s license.
After the crash Sunday, Acevedo took off from the Williamsburg crime scene, went to his wife Dorothy’s home and picked up a bag, a prosecution source said. Then he went to Pennsylvania to hide out.
Acevedo may have been holed up with a friend before his surrender in Bethlehem, Pa., on Wednesday.
Investigators have attempted to question Acevedo’s wife since the hit-and-run deaths, but she refused to talk. She told the Daily News on Thursday night, before heading to Acevedo’s arraignment, that she is clearly in his corner. The defendant’s 12-year-old daughter was with her.
“We’re trying to stay strong,” she said. “We love him and we’re here to support.”
But looking at Acevedo in the Allentown courtroom Thursday morning, you sensed that he would be sitting on a steel jail bench for much of what’s left of his nonlife.
He was exactly the kind of worthless nobody that races out of the city’s night shadows to claim the lives of a vibrant couple married just a year, taxiing through the Brooklyn night to Long Island College Hospital because Raizel felt pains that she feared might indicate a complication in her pregnancy.
The Toyota Camry carrying the Glaubers was heading west on Wilson St. when it was struck by the 2010 BMW driven by Acevedo, speeding north on Kent Ave. At that fateful intersection, the best and worst of Brooklyn collided.
Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Gayle Dampf said Thursday night that Acevedo’s prior convictions include criminal possession of a firearm, for which he served five years, violating his parole at one point. A witness saw him accelerate around a firetruck and plow into the cab Sunday, Dampf said.
The prosecutor said two witnesses later identified the defendant in a photo line-up, adding that Acevedo faces at least 15 years in prison if convicted and likely 25 years to life.
But his attorney insisted it was all an accident.
“That a young couple and their newborn child died is horrendous,” said lawyer Kathleen Julian after the Brooklyn arraignment. “But it’s not a crime. It was an accident.
“People die in car accidents every day,” she added. “It happens … Wrong place, wrong time.”
Acevedo remained a fugitive until his surrender Wednesday afternoon. He was arrested, and on Thursday morning Judge Banach went through a formal Q&A with Acevedo to make sure he had not been threatened or coerced into his decision to sign the extradition waiver.
The Q&A told all you needed to know of the sorry story of Acevedo.
“Where do you live?” asked the judge.
“Are you employed?”
“Not at this moment.”
The judge on Thursday accepted the extradition waiver and Julio Acevedo’s ankle chains rattled as he was led out.
“Can’t help feeling a little sorry for him,” a TV reporter whispered.
There is sadness in any wasted life. And there is no way Acevedo set out that night with the violent forethought of ending the lives of a pregnant woman and her loving husband.
“He’s obviously brokenhearted over what happend,” Acevedo’s lawyer said in Brooklyn. “He feels terrible for the family.”
But when the good collided with the bad, we were left with the ugly result of a husband and wife and their baby who will breathe no more.
I’ll save my sorrow for the Glaubers’ loved ones as we await justice that will almost certainly have us waving goodbye to Acevedo for many more wasted years of his already wasted life.