Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mom Lisa Wilkins to confront hit-run driver Jennifer Porter at probation hearing

TAMPA — Lisa Wilkins will sit in a courtroom today and once again face the woman who hit and killed two of her children, seriously injured two more, and then drove away in 2004.

She said she's ready to tell the judge not to grant Jennifer Porter's request to end her probation early.

"She doesn't deserve to be on the street," Wilkins said as she sat in her Land O'Lakes home Wednesday evening.

Wilkins said she's never had contact with Porter, but today she would like her to see what she has done. The mother plans to bring her two injured children, 13-year-old Aquina Wilkins and 7-year-old LaJuan Davis, who both suffer from memory loss as result of the accident.

Porter is midway through her three-year probation. That's when defendants typically are eligible to seek an early end to the restrictions.

The accident, on a busy street in front of the University Area Community Center, killed 13-year-old Bryant Wilkins and his 3-year-old brother, Durontae Caldwell. The two other children were seriously injured.

In late 2005, Porter pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash involving a death. A judge sentenced her to two years of house arrest, three years of probation and 500 hours of community service work. Wilkins said she believes Porter's attorney, Barry Cohen, is the reason his client avoided jail time.

She got a call to testify at Porter's hearing Monday from the State Attorney's Office.

"I thought, 'Here we go again,' " Wilkins said.

Lawyer Thomas Parnell was not surprised at Porter's request. But he described the request as an insult to his client, Wilkins.

"The majority in the community felt that the sentence was not harsh enough," Parnell said. "So to shorten the sentence would be a slap in the face to her. I think that's what the community is feeling. The sentence was certainly as light as it could have been. She should have just served it and left it alone."

It was a divisive issue then, and still was Wednesday, with conflicting reactions posted at tampabay.com.

Some are still outraged that Porter, a former dance teacher at Tampa's Muller Elementary School, received no prison time. Others attacked Wilkins for letting her children cross north Tampa's 22nd Street in the dark, without adult supervision.

Porter is expected to appear for a hearing on the request today at 11 a.m. before Circuit Judge Tom Barber.

Wilkins said she knows life isn't always fair but she hopes the judge will do the right thing.

"She shouldn't get off probation," she said. "It's not a fair case when it comes to burying two kids."

Mom Lisa Wilkins to confront hit-run driver Jennifer Porter at probation hearing 05/20/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 25, 2009 5:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  2. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  4. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”


  5. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.