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Friend: Man convicted in teen's 2007 death needs help, not jail

Posted February 21, 2013

— A Raleigh man who was arrested last week and accused of violating his probation on a fatal drunken-driving charge won't get another chance if he violates his probation again, a judge warned him Thursday.

Christopher John Palmeri, of 1920 Holly Lane, was arrested on Valentine's Day after he tested positive for illegal drugs.

A friend spoke out on Palmeri's behalf Thursday, saying the 24-year-old is still struggling with his 2007 drunken-driving crash that killed his friend, Sadiki Ayize Young, 18, a Wakefield High School senior. He needs treatment for depression and drug addiction, not more jail time, his friend said.

"He's very sorry, and there's not much you can do to bring someone back. You best believe he has plenty of remorse over what he's done," said William Caldwell. "From the bottom of my heart, I would love to see him get help."

Palmeri, who was jailed under a $200,000 bond, is serving five years' probation as part of his sentence in the January 2007 death of Young, who died when the car Palmeri was driving went off an embankment in north Raleigh.

Investigators said Palmeri had been drinking and was traveling 72 mph in a 35 mph speed zone at the time of the wreck. Young was one of two passengers in the car.

The victim's mother says she doesn't blame Palmeri for her son's death. But in the years since the crash, Palmeri has had several run-ins with the law.

He tested positive on Feb. 13 for marijuana and opiates and admitted to his probation officer that he had used marijuana and heroin and had previously taken Vicodin without a prescription, according to court documents.

Christopher  Palmeri Friend: Man convicted in teen's death needs help, not jail time

In 2009, he was arrested after he allegedly stole three cases of beer from a Raleigh grocery store, but, according to court records, the charges were dismissed by the Wake County District Attorney's Office. It's unclear why.

In 2012, he spent another five months in prison for a probation violation in March 2010.

Palmeri has another hearing on March 21. His attorney, Alan Briones, says he hopes to work with the state to come up with a solution that will get Palmeri the help he needs and keep him out of jail for good.

"The weight that bears on him, I can't imagine," Briones said. "I think he needs treatment. I think he needs help."

40 Comments

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  • lwe1967 Feb 22, 6:49 p.m.

    What turn him loose again to do to another person what he did to his friend. Yes, he does need help, but he needs to be punished and at the same time get him off the drugs. It's a horrible thing to be hooked on the drugs, but, most of the people who are have a hard time getting off of them, or don't want to. Like an alcholic, they have to hit rock bottom and then start climbing back up. I hope that he does get the help that he deserves, but at the same time, he will have to be incarcerated to make sure that he get off of the drugs and the alcohol.

  • ripetomatoes Feb 22, 3:11 p.m.

    He cannot be helped until he decides he can be helped.
    This person, no one else, is responsible for his actions.
    We all have to grow up in order to live to get old.

  • dlnorri Feb 22, 2:57 p.m.

    I believe the best treatment for DUI Homicide would be 5 years on a nice prison farm where you had to grow your own food or die. Lots of time to think about the important things when you are bent over a row of beans or cucumbers in the hot summer sun..... Certain it would work more miracles than any time on a shrinks couch.

  • djofraleigh Feb 22, 12:33 p.m.

    What help has he been getting all these years and what good has it done? What will be different here after?

  • luxurytravel Feb 22, 10:51 a.m.

    Enabiling his behavior WON'T help him. Still living at home at age 24. Doesn't have money for rent, but has money for drugs? His friend and parents are not helping at all as long as they continue to enable him. He had HEROIN in his system, not Tylenol!

  • babedan Feb 22, 9:31 a.m.

    Maybe if his friend was such a good friend, he would have kept him off the stuff, anyone ever think about that?

  • babedan Feb 22, 9:31 a.m.

    wyzynidl, he never went to jail. The problem is folks like you who want to blame everyone else for your problems. Take responsibility. I'm sure he knew the dangers of drugs, he knew you don't drink and drive and he did it anyway. Now it's time to pay the piper. Our system is a mess, because of Judges who don't give out justice because they have this bleeding heart idea like you do, that puts the blame on everything except the one responsible for their actions.

  • wyzynidl Feb 22, 8:16 a.m.

    I feel for this guy and any others. The problem is our system is screwed. The courts lock people up quick, but upon release they give no rehabilitation for these people. Everyone needs a chance to correct their unapproved actions, and the system knows this. It just another way to control people. And, for the people that is quick to say lock them are the reasons why people that need help can't get any. Before long our system will quite a mess.

  • NotUrTypicalAmerican Feb 22, 8:12 a.m.

    Someone needs to tell this "friend" that, in this case, "help" is jail.

  • indrdw Feb 22, 8:06 a.m.

    Let him serve his time, give him another chance while in prison then after that he can get more help. He can get more education, could stay off alcohol and drugs if prisoners were confined and/or under control, get fed, medical aid, have television, etc. And look, it will not cost him a dime, he will not have to rob anyone nor will he be driving under the influence.

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