Ohio black teens given suspended sentence for dropping sandbag off overpass that killed man
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2018-04-07 17:31:33 UTC
The four Ohio teens who pleaded guilty to dropping a sandbag off a
freeway overpass that killed a 22-year-old man were given a suspended
sentence and ordered to a treatment center on Friday.

Marquis Byrd was the passenger in a vehicle that was hit by the
sandbag dropped onto Interstate 75 in Toledo last December. Byrd was
left in critical condition and died three days later in the hospital.

The four teens, all aged 13 or 14, pleaded guilty to either murder or
manslaughter. The boy who dropped the sandbag pleaded guilty to murder
while the other three pleaded to involuntary manslaughter, the Toledo
Blade reported. The teen who pleaded guilty to murder was sentenced to
the Department of Youth Services until he turns 21, while the teens
who pleaded guilty to manslaughter were sentenced to three years in
the Department of Youth Services.

All four sentences were suspended by the judge in favor of being sent
to Toledo's Lucas County Youth Treatment Center.

"It's a treatment facility, for certain services, to provide so these
boys change their behavior and can become productive members of our
community," Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon said.

The decision to suspend the teens' sentences and send them to the
treatment facility drew outrage from Lillian Diallo, the Byrd family's
lawyer, who called the decision "outrageous."

"Suspended what? If you do what? So eight months you get to go home?"
Diallo told Toledo ABC station WTVG outside the courtroom following
the sentencing. "This child will never be at home. His son will never
see him. His mother will never be able to say, 'Hey son, how are you?
How's your day?' Touch his face, see his face. This is outrageous."

There were 30 letters written on behalf of Byrd, asking for a strong
punishment for the boys. The four convicted teens apologized in court
to the victim's family.

"I pray for him and his family every single day and night and cannot
imagine what they are going through and how they feel right now," one
of the boys said Friday, reading from a letter.

The four teens initially pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder
and vehicular vandalism, the Lucas County ProsecutorÂ’s Office said.

"Let me tell you something -- at the age of 10 you know if you take
something and put it in a moving lane of traffic, you should know what
the consequence will be," Diallo said. "You didn't take the sandbag
and throw it on the side. You took that sandbag and you threw it down
there to that boy's death."

Diallo, who knew Byrd, told ABC News in January that Byrd, a father to
a 2-year-old boy, was planning a surprise proposal for his girlfriend,
the mother of his child.

2018-04-08 08:13:53 UTC
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