A man who pleaded guilty to participating in a 2014 carjacking that set off a devastating string of events leading to the deaths of a young mom and three of her children will spend 45 to 90 years in prison for his crimes, a judge ruled on Thursday.
Jonathan Rosa spent his 21st birthday in court learning that he'll spend at least the next four decades behind bars for his role in the July 25, 2014 carjacking and crash that killed Keisha Williams, 34, and her children, 15-year-old Keiearra, 10-year-old Joseph and 7-year-old Terrance. Rosa pleaded guilty to four counts of third-degree murder, robbery, aggravated assault, conspiracy and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in January.
The deadly saga unfolded on that hot July afternoon when Rosa and his co-defendant, Cornelius Crawford, decided to carjack a realtor at 6th and Cumberland streets. Prosecutors said Rosa sexually assaulted the realtor in her Toyota 4Runner as it sped through North Philadelphia. Williams, her children and a neighbor, Thelma Brown, were setting up a stand to sell fruit at Germantown and Allegheny avenues when the SUV plowed through the intersection, jumped a curb and struck the group on the grass lot where they stood.
Brown, who is in her 70s, survived. Williams and her children, however, died from their injuries.
Crawford negotiated a guilty plea to four counts of third-degree murder, robbery, aggravated assault and attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in March. He was sentenced to 12½ to 25 years in prison.
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Brown and Williams' two surviving sisters spoke with NBC10 over the summer, a year after the carjacking and crash. One of Williams' sisters has taken in her two surviving children, who were not at the fruit stand that day.
Brown, who has suffered numerous health problems since she was badly injured in the crash, said she faced the admitted carjackers at their preliminary hearing, but that she doesn't wish physical harm on them the way many in her neighborhood and the city did in the wake of the crime that ended in tragedy.
"The only thing I can say to them is God will judge you," Brown said. "I don't want nobody to do nothing to them, nothing at all, because I want them to live with what they did and with their regrets."