An evening tryst in June has added another wrinkle to the high-profile vehicular homicide case of Jewish restaurateur Susanna Goihman, charged with the hit-and-run death of 15-year-old Philadelphia resident Kayla Peter. Testimony surfaced earlier this month regarding an alleged affair with fellow Jewish restaurateur Alberto DelBello, who may now face legal issues of his own.
Following a grand-jury indictment on two felony counts and one misdemeanor for allegedly driving drunk and fatally striking the teen, Goihman, 40, was formally charged last week in the June 19 incident. The owner of the now-defunct Azafran on Third Street, just off of South Street, had been previously charged with one felony count of fleeing the scene of the accident.
Now that the grand-jury investigation is complete, DelBello is facing a possible civil suit, and even criminal charges for actions following the accident.
According to grand-jury testimony and court documents, Peter was coming home from visiting friends in Andorra when she was struck by Goihman's car and killed just 50 yards from her front door. Goihman had begun drinking at 7:30 p.m. at Kildare's Pub in Manayunk, and then at the nearby Thomas' Restaurant, the prosecution alleges.
At 9 p.m., according to a witness, Goihman was seen eating and drinking with DelBello and members of his family at one of the outside tables at Il Tartufo, which DelBello owns.
After the family left, DelBello brought Goihman into the restaurant, where they were "flirting and kissing," and drinking more, the testimony continued.
DelBello then testified that he drove Goihman in her car to Goihman's house, where the two slept together. It was on her way home from dropping off DelBello that Goihman struck Peter.
"This is a tragedy for everyone involved," said Ed Dashevsky, an attorney for the Peter family. He said that a civil suit against Goihman and her restaurant has already been filed. An additional complaint against DelBello and his establishment, as well as other restaurants in the case, is forthcoming.
The district attorney's office has not decided whether or not to file criminal charges against DelBello for allegedly trying to influence one of the witnesses' testimony. Center City attorney Neil Jokelson, who is representing DelBello, would not comment on the case or any pending litigation involving his client.
If convicted on all four charges, Goihman could face up to 24 years in prison. She's due to be arraigned on the new charges on Nov. 30.