BY KATHY KAHN
What began as a New Year’s Eve party with over 200 underage drinkers in an upscale Orange County home ended on January 1, 2017 with a young volunteer fireman, Justin Speights, dead from knife wounds received when trying to break up a fight.
Speights was trying to calm things down when Jauntae Brown of Spring Valley stabbed him twice. Brown was arrested and had his final day in court on Monday, May 15, receiving 5-15 years in state prison for the killing, the maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter.
Many of the witnesses declined to divulge information, making it more difficult for investigators to find out exactly what happened. Silver Lake volunteers scoured over a radius of ten miles of the slaying and found Brown’s knife.
Brown’s two friends were charged with tampering with evidence—deleting pictures from their mobile devices. Rasso Chambers of Spring Valley pled guilty May 11 to tampering with physical evidence, a misdemeanor, and will be sentenced next month. Robert Lemmount of Circleville, Orange County, is facing a felony charge and will be in court Thursday, May 25.
As a result of the underage drinking party that left one young man dead and three others facing long prison terms, Orange County has adopted a Social Host law in March, holding anyone over the age 18 responsible for underage drinking in their home or in their presence and failing to stop it.