After a mob attack that left three innocent bystanders injured last month, nine out of the 10 juvenile attackers have agreed to plea deals, ranging from probation to community service. The remaining defendant is being charged as an adult, and his bail has been set at $75,000.
The attack happened in the parking lot of a Memphis Kroger’s where two teenage clerks, 17 and 18 years old, were beaten unconscious before being pummeled with large pumpkins. A male shopper, 25, was the third victim to be assaulted by the brigade while walking to his car.
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong spoke at a press conference alleging that the incident was an isolated act sparked by a fight between two girls. Armstrong’s premise discounted witness accounts that the mob was participating in a “knockout game” in which victims are randomly singled out.
"I think a core group of kids showed up just to cause trouble," Armstrong told the Commercial Appeal newspaper. "There's not a particular group doing this throughout the city.”
Eight of the 10 juvenile attackers were sentenced to 40 hours of community service on Tuesday morning. The remaining stipulations require that they stay in school, abide by curfew and write apology letters to the three victims that were beaten.
The ninth defendant faced additional charges that included possession of marijuana, a weapon, aggravated riot and three counts of assault. He was subsequently removed from the care of his mother and put into Department of Children's Services custody.
The tenth defendant elected to have a trial where Judge Dan Michael found him guilty of aggravated assault. The defendant had argued that throwing a pumpkin did not constitute a charge of aggravated assault, but Judge Michael’s disagreed, saying, “You beat him into unconsciousness. He could have easily died.”
The father of one of the teenage store clerks who was brutally beaten told Fox News that he wished to see all the defendants tried as adults.
"That was serious," he said. "They could have murdered my son and I have no doubt that some were trying to."