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Staten Island Double Hit-and-Run Killer to Serve No More Than Five Years

5:05 PM EDT on June 2, 2011

The unlicensed, speeding, hit-and-run driver who killed an elderly Staten Island couple in 2009 has been sentenced to a maximum of five years in jail.

Peter and Lillian Sabados, ages 78 and 77, respectively, were crossing New Dorp Lane at Third Street on their way to Thanksgiving eve Mass when Allmir Lekperic, exceeding the 30 mph speed limit by 15 mph, ran them over. He kept driving. Mr. Sabados died at the scene. Mrs. Sabados, conscious immediately following the collision, succumbed to her injuries early the next morning.

The 26-year-old Lekperic, who according to authorities had racked up dozens of license suspensions and had a history of reckless driving, had his sister report his van stolen. He eventually turned himself in.

Lekperic was first charged by District Attorney Dan Donovan's office with leaving the scene and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, then later with criminally negligent homicide. After initially professing innocence, he entered a guilty plea last February. Last month he was sentenced to a term of 20 months to five years for leaving the scene of an accident involving injury and 16 months to four years for each homicide charge. According to the Advance, the sentences will be served concurrently.

"There will never be enough words to express how sorry I am to have caused your suffering," Lekperic said before a packed and emotional courtroom. The sentence was imposed by Justice Leonard P. Rienzi.

"I am sorry. I am not a monster," he said. "Hopefully you guys will forgive me one day."

Rienzi, who noted Lekperic's clean record and deep remorse, which he believed was genuine, said he had to impose jail time given the circumstances.

To recap: Here's a guy who is driving without a license, who has a record of license suspensions, who is speeding, who runs over and kills two people, who leaves the scene, and who attempts to cover up his crime. And the judge regrets sending him to jail for as little as a few months. So even if the Sabados family never forgives Lekperic, at least the New York State criminal justice system is a soft touch.

A spokesperson for Donovan's office told Streetsblog that Lekperic's drivers license was revoked -- which means the state DMV will decide when, once released from prison, he will be back behind the wheel.

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