Teens in Florida bus beating plead guilty - WRBL

Teens in Florida bus beating plead guilty

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fl. - Three boys, all 15, who beat up a 13-year-old student on a Pinellas school bus in a gang attack July 9 faced a judge in juvenile court Thursday.

All three entered guilty pleas. 

Gulfport police say the July attack was triggered by the victim snitching to school administrators after he refused to buy drugs from one of the boys at Lealman Intermediate School earlier that day.

The driver called for help but did not physically intervene. The attackers, Joshua Reddin, Julian McKnight, and Lloyd Khemradj fled out of the back of the bus and the victim ended up with a broken arm. A video of the attack has sparked national outrage after going viral on the Internet.

It is not clear what might happen to the teen attackers, but one of them faces an additional charge of robbery after taking money form the victim during the attack. All three face charges of aggravated battery.

Gulfport police wanted prosecutors to charge the driver with child abuse for failing to intervene and provide immediate aid after the attack but prosecutors said there was no basis for that charge.

The case created a furor over school violence and prompted Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters to call for enhanced punishment for the attackers.

"We have determined that the highly violent nature of this crime warrants highly structured probation under DJJ supervision, as the state attorney's office recommended," Walters wrote in a statement released after the attack, and a DJJ recommendation for a lower level of supervision began creating controversy.

"Therefore, we are revising our recommendation, in concert with the recommendation of the state attorney's office," Walters wrote. "I want to make it clear that DJJ will do everything in its power to ensure youth are held accountable for their actions. Moreover, these youth will receive an array of services to hopefully keep them from ever re-offending."

The victim's grandmother and guardian said he has already been through a lot. She is angry at the Pinellas school system for putting him on the same bus with the attackers the same day the boy reported one of them for trying to sell him drugs. She faults educators for setting the stage for the attack.

The guardian says the boy has been subjected to chronic bullying at school, but was still horrified at the level of violence caught on the school bus camera that day.

"Just makes me sick," said the guardian. "I don't know how you can do that to another person."
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