Archive for Friday, November 17, 1995

OTTAWA TEEN SENTENCED TO YCAT

November 17, 1995

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— One of nine teen-agers implicated in the Sept. 25 shooting death of an Ottawa girl was ordered into custody on Thursday.

Benjamin F. Mastel, 15, was sentenced to a term at the Youth Center at Topeka on juvenile offenses that would have been felonies in adult court.

Prosecutors said Mastel was among a group of teen-agers who went to the victim's apartment to start a fight with her brothers, whom the teens considered rival gang members.

Stephanie Perez, 14, died after a shot fired by a group member struck her in the chest. Nathan Earwood, a 16-year-old Topekan, has been accused of first-degree murder in Stephanie's death.

Mastel stipulated -- the juvenile version of entering a guilty plea -- on Oct. 19 to aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and criminal possession of a firearm.

Bob Kuchar, assistant Franklin County attorney, said officials at the Youth Center at Topeka would design a rehabilitation program for Mastel once he arrived there. The length of Mastel's sentence will be determined by the time it takes him to fulfill the terms of that program.

However, juveniles cannot be confined at the facility after their 18th birthday.

Mastel's 16-year-old brother, Ian I. Mastel, has been granted probation until his 18th birthday in connection with the shooting. Ian Mastel stipulated to aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. Among his probation terms, Ian Mastel was ordered to spend 30 days under house arrest and perform 150 hours of community service work.

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