Isheem Young, the former Imhotep Charter football star and Penn State recruit, agreed Wednesday to admit to counts of robbery, conspiracy and possession of an instrument of crime, prosecutors said, and a Philadelphia judge remanded his case to juvenile court.
Young, 18, was charged with robbing a South Philadelphia Wawa with two accomplices in July. Wednesday’s decertification hearing was to determine whether Young’s case would be heard in juvenile or adult court.
According to Ben Waxman, the director of communications for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Young will be adjudicated delinquent and placed in a juvenile residential facility.
“This is exactly what we’ve been asking for since the beginning,” said Young’s attorney, Richard F. Klineburger III. “He was a 17-year-old who had minimal contact with the juvenile justice system. This was not a kid who has a violent history or any substance abuse issues.”
Klineburger said Young has not made any official pleas and that the juvenile court judge will determine what happens next on a date to be determined.
Young, a hard-hitting and quick safety when he played, was ranked as the No. 6 football recruit in Pennsylvania last season and rated No. 170 in the country by ESPN.
He was arrested in December and accused of robbing $13,600 from a Wawa on the 1600 block of Christopher Columbus Boulevard in July while carrying a black revolver. A police report filed after his arrest accused Young of pointing the revolver at an employee of the store where his brother, Quasir Wingate, was working as an assistant manager.
After the employee got on the floor, the police report said, Wingate, 24, opened the store’s safe and handed Young the cash in one- and five-dollar bills. Young — just days shy of his 18th birthday — then allegedly walked out of the store and jumped into a gold Buick sedan around the corner before fleeing on I-95 south.
Young was not apprehended until months later, when the alleged getaway driver, Rafi Johnson, 22, was questioned by police. Officers had recognized Johnson’s Buick as the car involved in the robbery, and he allegedly told police that Wingate arranged the crime.
Young, Johnson, and Wingate were all charged for their roles in the incident. Johnson pleaded guilty to robbery, conspiracy, and a gun charge and was sentenced to 11 1/2 months house arrest and five years probation, according to court records. Wingate is awaiting trial, currently scheduled for September.
Klineburger said that Young, who is out on bail, is working toward his high school diploma and may try to continue his football career. Penn State withdrew Young’s scholarship offer shortly after his arrest.
Klineburger also noted that Lauren Fine, the co-director of the Youth Servicing and Reentry Project, played a key role in having Young treated as a juvenile and showed “that his case was meant to be sent down to the juvenile court.”