Zaria Estes, 16, was sentenced Wednesday to serve two and a half to six years in state prison for throwing a brick at a female Temple student’s face in an apparently random attack last year.
Judge Michael Erdos called the attack a “hideous” crime before handing down the sentence on adult charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy.
Estes apologized to her victim Abbey Luffey before sentencing.
“I truly apologize to Abbey and her family,” Estes said in an allocution statement before sentence was handed down. “If I could rewind that day, I would, and make a better choice.”
Estes acknowledged having anger issues and began to weep as she said she was not “a dangerous, cold-hearted teenager.”
“I promised myself I would not let this one tiny mistake stop me from moving forward with my future,” Estes said.
Estes’ lawyer Bill Davis argued that as a minor, Estes could be damaged by time in state prison and pleaded for a sentence to house arrest. She pleaded guilty in October. During a recess before sentencing was handed down Estes took a selfie in the court room’s back pew with friends and family.
The March 21, 2014 brick-throwing attack near 17th and Norris streets on Luffey left her with a broken jaw and requiring dental surgery.
After turning herself in, Estes admitted to police that she swung the brick repeatedly at Luffey, missing multiple times, before picking it up again and making contact.
The Temple University Police Department expanded their patrol zone west to 18th Street, effective this fall, directly in response to this attack, said Captain Ed Woltemate, who gave a statement regarding the attack’s impact on Temple at the sentencing hearing.
In a victim impact statement, Luffey described significant psychological difficulties since the attack, as well as ongoing dental and jaw pain.
“When I’m on the train or I’m around the city, I’m more uneasy. I guess I’m not ignorant that I can be attacked again,” she said.
Estes’ case was moved to adult court after a decertification hearing last year.
Two codefendants, Kanesha Gainey and Najee Bilal participated in two other attacks on Temple students and on Luffey during a spree of violence that day, along with several other girls who were not charged.
However, only Estes wielded a brick.
They both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to juvenile detention last year.
Estes’ family pleaded for forgiveness before the sentencing.
“I have prayed that your daughter be fine emotionally and physically,” Estes’ grandfather Arthur Seel told the Luffey family from the witness stand. “Please be merciful to my granddaughter.”
Judge Erdos said in state prison Estes would be detained only with inmates younger than 22 and would have access to rehabilitative programs.
Davis said he would appeal the sentence.