Two Teenagers who beat and killed a 13-year-old boy sent home to parents on probation

The judge said they were ‘directly responsible’ for the death, even though they did not intend to kill him

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 26 March 2021 22:27
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Diego Stolz
Diego Stolz
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A pair of middle school boys avoided jail time after admitting to the involuntary manslaughter of Californian 13-year-old Diego Stolz.

The two teenagers were sentenced to probation for the 2019 death and released into the custody of their parents on Friday, according to The Press-Enterprise.

Cellphone video of showed Diego being repeatedly punched before falling and hitting his head on a pillar in the yard of Landmark Middle School in the Moreno Valley, about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

His death led to reforms in how the district handled bullying incidents, while the principal of the school was removed from his position soon after the attack.

The two 14-year-olds, whose identities have been suppressed due to their age, were also sentenced to 150 hours of community service, therapy, and a character-building program.

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Riverside County Superior Court Judge Roger Luebs asserted that the boys lacked remorse, a claim rejected by both their attorneys, according to the report.

Mr Luebs said that the two were “directly responsible” for Diego’s death even though they did not intend to kill him.

“These kids have not had enough experience delivering empathy. You guys are not the center of the world and you guys need to start figuring that out,” Mr Luebs said.

In ruling on probation, the judge said the law requires juveniles to receive the least restrictive sentence for both rehabilitation and public safety.

The Riverside County’s district attorney and Probation Department were both seeking stronger sentences, including jail time. They had already spent 47 days in juvenile hall, according to ABC7.

The judge ordered the boys to return to Juvenile Court for a progress report in June, and said they would be remanded back to the juvenile hall if they did not comply with his orders.

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