Demetrius Jordan stood up in court on Tuesday and admitted he was driving drunk when he smashed into a car in 2010 in St. Petersburg, killing an Orlando accountant Elroy McConnell, 51, and three adult sons.
But for now, the pain he caused after drinking the alcohol-and-caffeine beverage Four Loko, running a red light and crashing into four people will remain unspoken.
Family members of the four who died are expected to speak July 20 when Jordan is sentenced, but in the courtroom Tuesday they issued only a statement asking for privacy.
Jordan, 22, pleaded guilty to four counts of DUI-manslaughter and one count of DUI with serious bodily injury. He also chose not to make a statement, except to answer questions posed by Pinellas-Pasco Judge Timothy Peters.
The judge asked if Jordan understood the consequences of his plea. He asked if Jordan understood he was throwing himself "at the mercy of the court" because there has been no plea agreement. Jordan said yes.
Assistant State Attorney Greg Groger said sentencing guidelines call for a minimum of 44 years in prison for Jordan, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Jordan's attorney Carl Roland Hayes said he would ask the judge for a sentence below the 44-year minimum. Among the reasons he plans to cite are Jordan's remorse, his young age at the time of the crash (20) and his lack of a prior criminal record.
Jordan played on the St. Petersburg High School marching band's drum line and had been enrolled at St. Petersburg College, where he was taking prerequisite classes to enter the mortuary sciences program.
The crash focused a spotlight on energy drinks laced with alcohol. Later that year, the makers of Four Loko stopped adding caffeine and other energizing ingredients.
The accident occurred Aug. 1, 2010, when Jordan sped through a red light at about 80 mph at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and 22nd Avenue N in his Chevrolet Impala, according to police.