Judge locks up man with long record charged with running down two kids on bikes, killing one

A Dorchester District Court judge on Monday set bail of $500,000 for James Horton of Dorchester, 45, a seasonal Boston DPW worker who is charged with hitting two little kids on bicycles Saturday night, then fleeing the scene as one of them lay there, dead.

Even if Horton makes bail on the charges of motor-vehicle homicide and leaving the scene of a collision causing death, however, he will remain behind bars until the case is decided - Judge Jonathan Tyne also revoked his bail on two earlier and still pending cases - one for driving after suspension, the other for allegedly hitting a family member and threatening her with a knife.

Courtroom 1 at Dorchester Municipal Court was filled for his arraignment - one side with relatives of Yadielys Deleon Camacho, the 8 year-old girl who died, the other with Horton's family - and six court officers on hand to ensure they did not mix. Her mother held a large and obviously well used stuffed duck.

As the case was read against him, Horton stood in the prisoner's dock with a green jacket completely hiding his head.

Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Judith Lyons said that sometime Saturday, a friend of Horton's agreed to let him use her rental car, even though he did not have a valid license. Around 11 p.m., as Yadielys and her cousin Joseph Eduardo Cordova were riding bicycles outside a birthday party for their grandmother, Horton careened around a corner at "an excessive rate of speed" and plowed into the two children and a parked car, she said.

Horton immediately ran away, she said, adding Boston Police detectives found him "hiding in a residence in Brockton."

Lyons said Horton has a criminal record dating to his teens: More than 50 defaults, 14 restraining orders, 5 aliases and multiple probation violations. He spent "significant time" in prison following a 2002 conviction for an offense she did not specify. At the time of Saturday's crash, he was out on $500 bail for the alleged domestic attack in Brockton, she said.

Horton's attorney, Alyssa Hackett, acknowledged "it's a horrible thing that has happened," but asked for bail of just $2,500. but said it was just an accident, that Horton certainly didn't mean to kill and injure the children that night.

She said most of his legal problems were in his youth and that he's been relatively clean in the decade since. She said he volunteers at the New Rehoboth Bethel Apostolic Church in Dorchester - trying to steer kids away from winding up like him - and that keeping him locked up would deprive his children of the $188 a week he pays in child support.

She noted that he has strong Dorchester roots - where he grew up and still has family. She argued against revoking bail on the earlier cases, saying that's only done where the defendant poses a significant danger to the community and that Horton, despite being in court on a charge of running over a little kid, does not pose such a threat. He's non-violent, despite what the assistant DA said moments before, and has no OUI charges, she said.

The judge thought it over for less than a minute, then agreed to the prosecutor's request.