August 16, 2005
Redemption for Turkey Boy
Ryan Cushing is the Long Island teenage college kid who was part of a group of guys who stole a credit card and used it to buy DVDs and video games at Blockbuster, and a frozen turkey at Waldbaum's, then threw the turkey into oncoming traffic. The turkey, thrown by Cushing, went through the windshield of a car driven by Victoria Ruvolo with enormous force, breaking every bone in her face, and could have killed her. Yesterday, he plead guilty to a lesser charge after Ruvolo herself pushed for second-degree assault, rather than first-degree. Ryan Cushing will probably get 6 months in jail (and required counseling) instead of up to 25 years.
The press coverage of their meeting in the Long Island courthouse yesterday--the first encounter between the two since the turkey assault--is an unbelievably intense story that really sounds like it was scripted for a sentimental Ron Howard movie about the power of redemption or something. Except it's real, so it's touching rather than maudlin. Here's a bit from the NY Times piece:
Stopping to speak to her on his way out of the courtroom, Mr. Cushing choked on an apology and began to cry. For an intensely emotional few minutes, Ms. Ruvolo alternately embraced him tightly, stroked his face and patted his back as he sobbed uncontrollably.
Many of the two dozen people in court - prosecutors, court officers and reporters - choked back tears.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," Mr. Cushing said over and over again. "I didn't mean it." Most of their exchange was whispered, but at one point Ms. Ruvolo's advice to him was just barely audible.
"It's O.K., it's O.K.," she said. "I just want you to make your life the best it can be."
Speaking to reporters after this, the kid told them he loved her.
The Suffolk County DA said that during the preparation of the case, Ms. Ruvolo had insisted on a more lenient charge for Cushing, and though victim's wishes don't normally play a role in prosecution decisions, he was finally persuaded by her.
Let's just hope Kevin Spacey doesn't decide to make a movie adaptation.
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