Following the death of the 13-year-old student in Moreno Valley, two boys of the same age are being charged with a count voluntary manslaughter. The two boys in question have not been identified because of their age. They are also being charged with counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injuries. According to local reports, the initial juvenile petitions were filed on September 19, prior to the teen’s death and prosecutors then added the voluntary manslaughter charge on September 30, following the death of the teen identified only as Diego. A spokesperson for Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, John Hall, said the boy died on September 25.
These charges follow the recent arrests of the two teens after they allegedly assaulted the deceased victim on the campus of Landmark Middle School, about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, California. Both boys were arrested after the assault and the teen they allegedly attacked remained in critical condition until his death.
A 15-second video of the attack went viral on social media showing the young boy standing up to his assailants before being sucker-punched. The teen then falls, hitting his head on a pillar and punched again once on the ground.
Patty Rodriguez, the co-founder of Lil’ Libros and a producer of On Air With Ryan Seacrest, tweeted after the attack to share that the teen was, in fact, her nephew. “I really believe in the power of prayer. Please pray for my nephew. Please. He is a baby. His family doesn’t deserve this,” she tweeted.
A candlelight vigil was held on September 25 to honor the teen in front of Landmark Middle School and according to the Los Angeles Times, parents at the gathering also demanded that Moreno Valley Unified School District Supt. Martinrex Kedziora discuss next steps for combating bullying on the school campus.
“We were asking, “When is it going to stop?'” Alexis Garcia, who has two children in Moreno Valley district schools told the LAT. “‘How long do we have to wait? Do we have to wait for another tragedy to happen for you guys to listen to us?’ It was an angry mob because we were all mad as a community about what happened.”
Rodriguez and her family have not yet publicly commented following his death but they did sanction a gathering in his honor on September 28 in Moreno Valley.
One boy had a court appearance on Wednesday, October 2, where he denied the charges on the petition. Next, he will have a pretrial hearing on November 1, Hall said, while the other is scheduled to appear in court on October 15.
“He died because of a fight that no one was preventing and everyone was just taking videos of it,” student Divine Eubaney told NBC.