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Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2003

Teen guilty in park beating

14-year-old convicted of misdemeanor battery of boy with cerebral palsy

August 28, 2003

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A Lawrence boy was found guilty Wednesday of having a limited role in the beating of a 15-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.

In a closed hearing, Douglas County District Judge Pro Tem Peggy Kittel found 14-year-old Chris Fannin guilty of misdemeanor battery for kicking Josh Graves during a May 21 attack at Clinton Park, 500 Ill.

Fannin initially was charged with aggravated battery, a felony, but Kittel found there wasn't evidence to uphold that charge because Fannin didn't strike any blows to Graves' head, according to participants in the closed trial. Graves has said that during the attack he was punched in his left eye, in which he is legally blind, and on the left side of his head, which is sensitive because of a stroke he suffered early in life.

Graves was attacked as he walked home from the public library. He has said a group of boys ran up to him, asked him if he was "retarded," and began punching and kicking him.

Graves' mother, Teri Snell, said she understood the reasoning behind the judge's decision but hoped that whoever struck her son in the head would be found guilty of the more serious charge.

Three other boys are scheduled to go to trial next month. Each is charged with one count of aggravated battery. Their trial dates are as follows:

  • Damian Dillon, 15, Sept. 10.
  • Bradley Jamierson, 12, Sept. 10.
  • Marcus Spates, 13, Sept. 19.

Snell said she thought it was courageous that a 16-year-old friend of the suspects' who witnessed the beating took the stand Wednesday to testify about what he saw.

Jim George, Chris Fannin's court-appointed attorney, said the boy's family members felt sorry about what happened to Graves and didn't think what Chris did was right.

"On the other hand, they've believed all along that the district attorney had him overcharged," George said.

Fannin's sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 26.

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