MIAMI – (CBSMiami) – The South Florida man convicted of killing an 11-year-old girl in a hit and run accident more than four years ago was sentenced Thursday to six years in jail followed by 8 years probation.
Harvey Abraham was found guilty in November 2012 of leaving the scene of an accident involving death and tampering with evidence.
Police said he struck and killed Ashley Valdes and did not stop to render aid.
As soon as Judge Thomas Rebull handed down the sentence, Abraham’s teen daughter who did not want her name used sobbed and cried out, “He won’t see me at my graduation.”
Just moments earlier, the family of Ashley Valdes addressed the court including her 10-year-old cousin Jaimee Labanino who turned to Abraham and asked him directly, “If someone hurt your loved one, wouldn’t you want justice?”
Adonay Rosete also addressed her comments to Abraham directly when she said, “I never wanted a life sentence for this man, but I expect serious consequences. A slap on the wrist denies his cover up and choice to leave my daughter. Makes me wonder if he had gotten away with it…would he have done it again?
Valdes was killed while crossing the street after a substitute bus driver dropped her off on the wrong side of the road in Kendall in January 2009.
Abraham’s pick-up truck along SW 80th Street at 149th Avenue plowed into her. Abraham simply kept going.
Friends and family of Abraham also spoke and asked the judge for mercy characterizing Abraham as a “good man who made poor choices.”
Abraham addressed Ashley’s mother Adonay for the first time since the child’s death.
“When I go home I go back to that cell and I’m going to have that pain for the rest of my life. Once again, I want to say that I’m truly deeply sorry. My daughters, my wife and my kids, I’m truly sorry. You all know I do my best. I’m truly sorry. For you losing your daughter that day. I’m truly sorry. I don’t know what else I can do,” Abraham said.
But Judge Rebull ultimately wasn’t swayed and reminded Abraham that things could have been very different that day.
“Mr. Abraham if only you would have stopped,” Rebull said.
To Rosete, who wore a pendant with her daughter’s picture on it, Abraham’s apology was hollow.
“I was trying to tune him out,” she said about his apology.
Her daughter’s death spurred the “Ashley Alerts”, text messages that alert people in Miami-Dade County to crimes like hit and runs as well as other traffic and safety related issues.
Click here to sign up for the notifications:
Rosete hopes the alerts can one day help someone who shares her same pain.
There’s now a traffic signal at the intersection where Ashley died and part of the street was renamed after her.