Two teenagers who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal assault of a 13-year-old at a California school have been sentenced to probation.
The 14-year-old boys were released to their parents’ custody after serving 47 days in juvenile hall, ordered to serve 150 hours of community service each, undergo therapy, and participate in a character-building program, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Roger Luebs ruled Friday.
The victim, Diego Stolz, 13, was beaten to death on September 16, 2019, at Landmark Middle School.
Diego was punched in the head from behind and then fell and hit his head on a pillar in the schoolyard, KTLA reported. The boys then continued to punch Diego. He died from head trauma nine days after the incident.
His attackers’ identities have not been made public because they are juveniles.
Although the district attorney and probation department were pushing for the teens to spend more time behind bars, Luebs said the required sentencing guidelines were that the least punitive measures be taken to promote rehabilitation.
Luebs added that the two teens were “directly responsible” for Diego’s death even without intending to kill him.
“The idea that they didn’t go to youth prison shouldn’t be seen as a slap on the wrist. Actually, they’re going to have a lot of work to do to have to eventually complete the probation, which probably won’t end until their 18th birthday,” said defense attorney David Wohl.
Each of the defendants is due back in juvenile court on June 25 to give a progress report on their probation to the judge.
Luebs warned the boys that if they did not comply with their probation, they would be sent back to juvenile hall.
Since Diego’s death, the school district has changed its reporting system for bullying to hold administrators more accountable and changed its training methods for assistant principals who handle discipline, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.