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Unlike on other days when drunken driver Jeremy Ryan Reed had appeared in court, there was no street-side protest Friday at the Matheson Courthouse.

Reed, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree felony automobile homicide - and for once the family of victim Gregorio Rodriguez Jr. said they are satisfied.

"We decided to put our signs aside because we knew we were going to get the justice we've been looking for," said the victim's aunt, Marcela Rodriguez.

Gregorio - a Hunter High School sophomore - was killed Aug. 29 as he sat astride his bicycle talking to friends after classes ended on the first day of school.

Reed faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced March 10 by 3rd District Judge J. Dennis Frederick, who ordered Reed handcuffed and taken into custody.

Members of Reed's family sobbed loudly as they left the courtroom, then hid behind coats to avoid the news media.

Defense attorney Ed Brass had asked that Reed - who has been on house arrest and living with his mother in West Valley City since November - remain free until sentencing.

Brass expressed concern that in jail his client - who apparently suffers from bipolar disorder - will not get the medications he needs to maintain his mental health. The judge invited Brass to file a motion on the issue.

The question of Reed's release has been contested for months. In September, a judge refused to reduce Reed's bail from $50,000, stating the defendant was "a threat to the community."

When a bail hearing was set in November before a different judge, family members of the victim waved protest signs outside the courthouse. That judge cut Reed's bail in half, but also ordered house arrest and electronic monitoring.

At a December scheduling hearing, family members turned out again to protest Reed's release.

Prosecutor Cara Tangaro said after Friday's hearing that she plans to recommend prison for Reed.

Said the victim's aunt: "Gregorio was 15 years old, and 15 years [for Reed] seems fair to us."

Marcela Rodriguez said she and other family members will be at the sentencing and parole hearings to "present a face to them about who my nephew was."

She said the boy was kind, honest and respectful.

"We're not going to rest until we're sure he gets his punishment as he deserves it."

Prior to the fatal crash, Reed was driving recklessly in the Hunter High parking lot, according to police. He revved his engine, made his car lurch and threw a vodka bottle at another vehicle.

On 5600 West, Reed pulled a U-turn, nearly colliding with a truck, then sideswiped a parked car, drove onto a lawn and pulled back into traffic.

Near 4505 South, Reed's car left the road going about 40 mph and struck Rodriguez. One witness told police that Reed "aimed right at the boy."

The impact knocked Rodriguez and his bike 100 feet into a field.

Reed did not slow down. He drove through a subdivision, hit a car, stopped and went around it. Soon after, he missed a turn, drove through a wooden fence and walked away from his car. He was found lying on the ground next to a house.

Reed's blood-alcohol content was later measured at 0.28 percent - more than three times Utah's legal limit of 0.08 percent.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped six related misdemeanor charges.