Three Clinton teenagers died on Feb. 9, 2020, when the car they were passengers in slammed into a tree on Hinckley Road in Clinton. Credit: Courtesy of the Maine State Police

A teenager whose unlicensed joyride ended on an icy Clinton road in February with three friends dead and himself and another passenger injured pleaded guilty Friday to manslaughter at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

Timothy Silva, 17, of Clinton will be sentenced as a juvenile at a later date in a written order from District Court Judge Charles Dow. The judge did not say Friday when he would announce the sentence.

Dow allowed Silva to remain in his mother’s custody while the judge decides what sentence to impose.

The judge assured the victims’ family and friends that he would take their feelings into consideration in his sentencing analysis and thanked them for attending the more than three-hour long hearing.

“This has been painful, long and exhausting but important, and very moving to all of us,” he said.

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney has asked that Silva receive the maximum penalty — to be incarcerated at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland until he turns 21.

Defense attorney Walter McKee of Augusta agreed with that sentence but asked that it all be suspended and that his client serve three years of probation.

Silva was 16 when he took his mother’s 2007 Toyota Corolla late on the night of Feb. 8 without permission, picked up four friends, and drove around town, according to court documents. He sped up shortly after 7 a.m. the next morning so he could get to one of the victim’s homes before a parent discovered he was missing.

Silva, now 17, was driving an estimated 85 miles per hour in a 40- to 45-mph section of Hinckley Road when he hit ice, lost control of the car, left the road and slammed into a tree.

Thomas “Tommy” Porfirio, 15, Emily Baker, 14, and her sister, 12-year-old Ashlin Baker, all of Clinton, were killed in the crash. First responders found them dead inside the car when they arrived at the crash site.

Nevaeh Wilson, 12, of Clinton, and Silva were injured but have recovered.

The central Maine community where the youth lived and went to school reacted with shock and sadness at the three teens’ deaths a month before the coronavirus pandemic shut down all but essential businesses in Maine. Porfirio and Emily Baker were freshmen at Lawrence High School in Fairfield, where Silva also went to school. Ashlin Baker was a seventh-grader at Lawrence Junior High School, also in Fairfield.

The grief felt by the families of the victims and their community was palpable Friday as many urged the judge to incarcerate Silva for as long as possible.

The father of Tommy Porfirio said that if the judge imposed a suspended sentence, it would not deter other teenagers from doing what Silva did.

“I am going to my grave with a broken heart,” Tony Porfirio told Dow. “He gets a slap on the wrist? What are all these young kids going to think about that?”

Samatha Baker, who lost two of her three children in the crash, said that Silva needed to be confined at Long Creek to protect the public.

“Anything less than a maximum sentence will not be sufficient for the three children, Tommy Porfirio, Emily Baker and Ashlin Baker, whose lives he has taken,” she said. “They will never be able to live their lives while Tim Silva will be able to live his everyday.”

Silva apologized for his actions. He said he did not intend for or imagine that anything so tragic would happen.

“At the time, I was just thinking about hanging out and being with my friends,” he said.

Maloney said after the hearing that to have tried Silva as an adult, she would have had to prove he acted intentionally, and there was no proof of that.

If Dow imposes the maximum sentence, Silva would be incarcerated for about four years, which is similar to sentences imposed on adults in vehicular manslaughter cases.

Joshua M. Bell, 32, of Medway was sentenced on Thursday in Bangor to 10 years in prison with all but 31 months suspended for manslaughter in the death of his wife in an August 2019 crash on Interstate 95. He faced up to 30 years in prison.