Probation for savage racial beating

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The Independent Online
TWO WHITE men accused of brutally beating a 13-year-old black boy who ventured into their neighbourhood pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Chicago yesterday and were let off with less than three years' probation and 300 hours of community service.

Victor Jasas, 18, and Michael Kwidzinski, 21, had been charged with attempted first-degree murder and other offences in the 1997 attack that left Lenard Clark brain- damaged. Instead, they pleaded guilty to battery.

They could have been jailed for up to 30 years if convicted on the original charges. A third man involved, Frank Caruso Jnr, 19, was convicted last month of aggravated battery and a hate crime, and was sentenced to eight years in jail.

Lenard was attacked after riding his bike into the mostly white Chicago neighbourhood of Bridgeport.

The three men were accused of beating him until he lost consciousness.

The case against Jasas and Kwidzinski was hampered by the killing of one witness in an apparent robbery attempt and the disappearance of a second witness believed to be the only person who could place the two at the scene.