Wednesday, February 10, 2016

To flee or not to flee

Admitted coffee-thrower David Timbers learns the hard way about skipping sentencing.

To flee or not to flee

This java jerk , David Timbers, of Mantua, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for throwing hot coffee in a clerk´s face in May. (Philadelphia Police)
This java jerk , David Timbers, of Mantua, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for throwing hot coffee in a clerk's face in May. (Philadelphia Police)

The idea behind pleading guilty to a crime – presumably one you actually committed – is to get a measure of credit at sentencing: you’ve shown the judge you’ve accepted responsibility for your actions.

Trouble is, if you become a fugitive before you are sentenced you've shown the judge you haven't grasped concept.

As David Timbers, 53, is finding out.

Timbers is the Mantua man who got a side order of Internet infamy on May 8, 2012 when a video camera captured him hurling hot coffee at a West Philadelphia doughnut-shop worker after arguing about the bill. In November he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Rayford A. Means let Timbers remain free on $25,000 bail pending sentencing.

Timbers’ sentencing was set for Jan. 24 and then rescheduled for June 7, a delay that may have given him a little too much time to mull over his future. Sentencing day came, Timbers didn’t, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Timbers was caught a few days later and Judge Means revoked his bail – Timbers is out $25,000 – and will remain in the Philadelphia prison system until his next sentencing hearing on Nov. 15.

Timbers’ guilty plea to aggravated assault was not part of an agreement with the District Attorney’s office and the prosecutor at that time said he could face up to 20 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Morgan Model Vedejs said she will argue for a state sentence and that Timbers’ recommended sentence under state guidelines is at least four years. Defense attorney Shaka Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Police said Timbers walked in to the Fresh Donuts shop on Lancaster Avenue near 39th Street on May 8 and ordered a turkey sandwich and coffee but got into an argument with the server when she said he had not paid for the sandwich.

“Take that,” Timbers is heard saying on the video as he hurled the coffee at the server, who sustained scalding burns and scarring on her arm and shoulder.

Timbers surrendered to police after they provided television and cable outlets with copies of the video of the incident.

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About this blog
Inquirer reporter Joe Slobodzian covers the courts and writes about the people who find themselves there and what they face.

You can reach Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or Reach Joseph A. at

Joseph A. Slobodzian
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