Moreno Valley Landmark Middle School students involved in bullying attack have charges upgraded to manslaughter after teen victim, ‘Diego’ fatally succumbs to his injuries.
California prosecutors have upgraded charges against two teen boys who allegedly sucker-punched a 13-year-old middle school classmate after the boy fatally succumbed to his injuries late last week.
The 13-year-old boys, who have not been identified because of their ages, were handed the new charge in addition to existing counts of assault likely to produce great bodily injury, announced John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, KTLA reports.
Both of the teens were arrested on September 16, following a ‘vicious’ brawl at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley.
The initial juvenile petitions were filed on Sept. 18, prior to the teen’s death. Prosecutors added the manslaughter charge on Sept. 30, according to Hall, with the boy passing away eight days after sustaining critical injuries during the school melee. He’d been in a coma following the incident.
One of the boys denied the charges at his initial hearing Wednesday and will reappear for a pretrial hearing Nov. 1, according to The Los Angeles Times. The second teen is expected to appear for a pretrial hearing Oct. 15.
282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month in US schools:
Cell phone footage of the Sept. 16 attack at Moreno Valley Landmark Middle School shows the victim, identified as Diego, being hit in the face by one student and then sucker-punched on the side of the head by another.
Video according to prosecutors shows the second blow sending the teen boy falling to the ground, his head hitting a cement pillar on the way down.
Diego was pronounced clinically dead last week ‘as a result of injuries sustained in the attack,’ according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Classmates told KTLA that Diego had been bullied at school and on social media.
It remained unclear what action, if any, school authorities had taken up to the fatal encounter to ward off rising aggression at the educational facility.
A 2017 report revealed 282,000 students being physically attacked in secondary schools each month in US schools, with the study citing 56% of students having personally witnessed some type of bullying at school. The same report also cites ‘unsympathetic apathy among teachers, staff and parents’ as contributing a negative effect and a proclivity to engendered violence.