Kayla H. Peter Kayla Peter

Kayla was a beautiful, bright, outgoing 15 year old with her whole life ahead of her. She had wonderful family and friends that love her. On June 19, 2005 Kayla was cold heartedly hit by car when she was crossing the street. The driver did not stop. Instead she tried to flee the country. The driver had been drinking at several bars and had been seen by witnesses speeding down the road. The driver would be caught and sentenced to a measly 3-6 years, pay a $537 fine and 4 years probation. The driver would only do 3 years. A slap on the hand for the driver but a slap in the face for Kayla’s family and friends.

 

montgomerynews

After serving her minimum sentence, Goihman released from prison
Published: Friday, June 04, 2010

 0diggsdigg ShareThis0By Bernard J. Scally

Susanna Goihman, 43, of East Falls, pled guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to three to six years in prison for her role in the death of Kayla Peter, 15, of East Falls in June 2005.

The hit and run sparked a number of protests and vigils from the community demanding Goihman be brought to justice. A Kayla Peter blog, started in August 2005 by Donna Persico, was used to rally and organize the vigils. According the blog, kaylapeter.blogspot.com, “This blog was established as a site to express feelings of the heart and mind surrounding the June 19, 2005 hit and run death of 15 year old Kayla Peter. The registered owner of the Lexus that killed Kayla is Susanna Goihman”

A grand jury report detailed the events leading up the incident that took young Peter’s life. Goihman was the former chef-owner of Azafran restaurant located in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia. Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson read the evidence the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had to prove Goihman was guilty would the case have gone to trial.

According to the Oct. 2005, Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, on the night of the hit and run in June 2005, Goihman was witnessed to have had a number of vodka martinis. After leaving her friend, Goihman then joined Alberto Delbello, also known as Ilyas Shah, and his family. Goihman and Delbello were then left in each other's company.

According to the report, Shah testified that Goihman asked him to drive her home and appeared to be coming on to him. There are conflicting reports as to what went on at the Goihman residence that evening when Shah drove Goihman home. Whatever the reason, Goihman drove Shah back to his restaurant.

According to Gilson, Anthony Washington testified that he was on his way to catch a bus to work at around 11:15 p.m. at the Wissahickon Transfer Center. As Washington walked, he saw a car, pearl white, fly by at about 50 mph in a 35 mph zone from Main St. towards Ridge Ave. Two or three blocks away, Washington heard a screech and a thump.

According to the report, Washington thought it was the white car hitting a parked car. Washington saw the car come to a complete stop, briefly reverse, and then drive off. No one got out of the car.

Gilson also had the testimony of Police Officer Gary Wheeler who investigated the hit-and-run accident. Wheeler gathered evidence that led to Goihman's car. Wheeler determined that after Peter left her friends at the Andorra Shopping Center, she traveled southbound on a Route 27 bus to the Transfer Center, located a block away from her home.

Peter was hit by the driver's side front bumper while crossing the well-lit street. She landed on the hood and struck the driver's side rear view mirror, before resting under the front of the car parked on the opposite side of the street she intended to cross.

Gilson said he also had the testimony of Dr. Richard Cohen, a forensic toxicologist, who determined that Goihman's blood alcohol content was double the legal limit for driving at the time of the accident.

Goihman was charged with multiple counts of driving under the influence, vehicular homicide while DUI and fleeing the scene of an accident. On Nov. 16, 2005, Goihman waived her right to a preliminary hearing, an indication that Goihman may plead guilty.

"An apology in this case does nothing," said Goihman, at her sentencing in 2005. "I don't know how to say sorry because I don't know if sorry counts."

Presided by Judge Benjamin Lerner, in the plea bargain, Goihman plead guilty to all charges against her and was sentenced to jail as well as four years probation upon her release. Goihman was also to pay $537 in legal fees and fines. Continued...

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"This sentence in not about rehabilitation but punishment," said Lerner in 2006.

While a few of Goihman's family members were in attendance in the courtroom that day, the majority of the gallery was filled with Peter's friends and family. Many were class mates of Peter, who took the R-6 train to Center City.

Before Lerner sentenced Goihman, Lerner reminded the court that a drunken driving fatality could happen to any one of us and that we have a role to combat drunk driving.

Goihman was ordered to serve sentence at the State Correctional Facility in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, near the Ohio border.

In a curious incident before Goihman's sentencing, Peter supporters walked in on the sentencing of an unrelated matter. Many stayed to see that sentencing of a robbery conviction.

The comparisons of sentences left many people feeling numb. News of her release was posted on the Kayla Peter blog on May 29. Persico wrote “There are no words. When Susanna Goihman was sentenced to 3 to 6, I truly believed she would, because of her arrogance, serve the full 6 years. She served the minimum for taking a BEAUTIFUL LIFE. If Goihman would have shot Kayla she would perhaps be in prision for life, but because it was a hit-and-run she gets off with the minimum. The justice system is flawed in this regard. Personally, my only comfort in the events of tomorrow, is my faith. In the end we all die and I believe only then will Susanna, and those like her, be accountable. And that accountability is for eternity.”

Susanna Goihman, 43, of East Falls, pled guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to three to six years in prison for her role in the death of Kayla Peter, 15, of East Falls in June 2005.

The hit and run sparked a number of protests and vigils from the community demanding Goihman be brought to justice. A Kayla Peter blog, started in August 2005 by Donna Persico, was used to rally and organize the vigils. According the blog, kaylapeter.blogspot.com, “This blog was established as a site to express feelings of the heart and mind surrounding the June 19, 2005 hit and run death of 15 year old Kayla Peter. The registered owner of the Lexus that killed Kayla is Susanna Goihman”

A grand jury report detailed the events leading up the incident that took young Peter’s life. Goihman was the former chef-owner of Azafran restaurant located in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia. Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson read the evidence the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had to prove Goihman was guilty would the case have gone to trial.

According to the Oct. 2005, Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, on the night of the hit and run in June 2005, Goihman was witnessed to have had a number of vodka martinis. After leaving her friend, Goihman then joined Alberto Delbello, also known as Ilyas Shah, and his family. Goihman and Delbello were then left in each other's company.

According to the report, Shah testified that Goihman asked him to drive her home and appeared to be coming on to him. There are conflicting reports as to what went on at the Goihman residence that evening when Shah drove Goihman home. Whatever the reason, Goihman drove Shah back to his restaurant.

According to Gilson, Anthony Washington testified that he was on his way to catch a bus to work at around 11:15 p.m. at the Wissahickon Transfer Center. As Washington walked, he saw a car, pearl white, fly by at about 50 mph in a 35 mph zone from Main St. towards Ridge Ave. Two or three blocks away, Washington heard a screech and a thump.

According to the report, Washington thought it was the white car hitting a parked car. Washington saw the car come to a complete stop, briefly reverse, and then drive off. No one got out of the car.

Gilson also had the testimony of Police Officer Gary Wheeler who investigated the hit-and-run accident. Wheeler gathered evidence that led to Goihman's car. Wheeler determined that after Peter left her friends at the Andorra Shopping Center, she traveled southbound on a Route 27 bus to the Transfer Center, located a block away from her home.

Peter was hit by the driver's side front bumper while crossing the well-lit street. She landed on the hood and struck the driver's side rear view mirror, before resting under the front of the car parked on the opposite side of the street she intended to cross.

Gilson said he also had the testimony of Dr. Richard Cohen, a forensic toxicologist, who determined that Goihman's blood alcohol content was double the legal limit for driving at the time of the accident.

Goihman was charged with multiple counts of driving under the influence, vehicular homicide while DUI and fleeing the scene of an accident. On Nov. 16, 2005, Goihman waived her right to a preliminary hearing, an indication that Goihman may plead guilty.

"An apology in this case does nothing," said Goihman, at her sentencing in 2005. "I don't know how to say sorry because I don't know if sorry counts."

Presided by Judge Benjamin Lerner, in the plea bargain, Goihman plead guilty to all charges against her and was sentenced to jail as well as four years probation upon her release. Goihman was also to pay $537 in legal fees and fines.

"This sentence in not about rehabilitation but punishment," said Lerner in 2006.

While a few of Goihman's family members were in attendance in the courtroom that day, the majority of the gallery was filled with Peter's friends and family. Many were class mates of Peter, who took the R-6 train to Center City.

Before Lerner sentenced Goihman, Lerner reminded the court that a drunken driving fatality could happen to any one of us and that we have a role to combat drunk driving.

Goihman was ordered to serve sentence at the State Correctional Facility in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, near the Ohio border.

In a curious incident before Goihman's sentencing, Peter supporters walked in on the sentencing of an unrelated matter. Many stayed to see that sentencing of a robbery conviction.

The comparisons of sentences left many people feeling numb. News of her release was posted on the Kayla Peter blog on May 29. Persico wrote “There are no words. When Susanna Goihman was sentenced to 3 to 6, I truly believed she would, because of her arrogance, serve the full 6 years. She served the minimum for taking a BEAUTIFUL LIFE. If Goihman would have shot Kayla she would perhaps be in prision for life, but because it was a hit-and-run she gets off with the minimum. The justice system is flawed in this regard. Personally, my only comfort in the events of tomorrow, is my faith. In the end we all die and I believe only then will Susanna, and those like her, be accountable. And that accountability is for eternity.”

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