The two boys behind a deadly school campus attack that killed a 13-year-old California boy will not receive jail sentences, a judge ruled on Friday according to KTTV-TV.
What are the details?
In 2019, 13-year-old Moreno Valley, California, student Diego Stolz died after two of his teenage classmates assaulted him on school property.
The attack took place at Landmark Middle School.
According to video footage of the incident, "one boy [is] standing in Diego's face, while the victim stood with his hands at his side."
"The boy then backed up before punching Diego in the mouth," the station added. "The second assailant then blindsided Diego with another punch, causing him to fall and strike his head on a concrete pillar."
Diego suffered "major trauma" and was pronounced brain dead. He was taken off life support a week later.
In November, both teens "made admissions" in Riverside Juvenile Court to involuntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury. The two previously faced charges of voluntary manslaughter, a more serious charge.
The Riverside District Attorney's Office said that, instead of jail time, each juvenile is sentenced to 150 hours of community services and that they will be required to "participate in various programs specifically tailored toward their rehabilitative needs."
KTTV reported, "The judge said he believed the probation department, who was pushing for jail time, was basing its terms and conditions on public outrage rather than rehabilitation."
Defense attorney David Wohl, who represented one of the teens, said, "The idea that they didn't go to youth prison shouldn't be seen as giving them a slap on the wrist, actually they're going to have a lot of work to do to complete their probation, which probably won't end until their 18th birthday. The probation wanted them to be sent to DJJ, which is the youth prison, which was not appropriate for 13-year-olds."
Defense attorney Rickson Dakanay, who represented the other teen, added, "It was an incident that occurred when they were 13 years old. They couldn't really process what was going on at the time. During some self-reflection, some therapy, they've actually come to grips with what occurred. They've showed some empathy, remorse."
Diego's family did not publicly comment on the sentencing hearing.
David Ring, his family's attorney, stated that the two boys consistently bullied Diego beginning in seventh grade in 2018. The family said they filed "multiple complaints" at the school in connection with the bullying, but said the concerns went unaddressed.
By 2019, the treatment reportedly escalated to the point where just days before the fatal attack, one of the boys "cornered and punched Diego in the chest and threatened to inflict further physical harm."
Though Diego reportedly went to a teacher — identified as campus Vice Principal Kamilah O'Connor — with his concerns, nothing was done, the family said.
Ring added, "This teacher saw his emotional state and knew there was something wrong, but there was nothing done."
The next day, Diego and a member of his family said they spoke with the vice principal, who said that the teens would be suspended for three days in connection with the assault. She also reportedly said that the teens' class schedules would be rearranged so that the boys' contact would be reduced.
"However," the station reported, "come Monday morning, the boys were still at school and later that day, two boys confronted Diego and threw punches that ultimately claimed his life."
Following the fatal attack, Ring said, "I don't believe the bullies were ever talked to. My information is that the assistant principal did absolutely nothing with that information — ever. You had a school who knew he was targeted and really did nothing to protect him."
The station reported that O'Connor and the former principal, Scott Walker, were replaced six weeks after Diego's death.
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