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Archive for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gardner teen enters plea in fight death

June 17, 2008

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— A suburban Kansas City teenager pleaded no contest Monday to aggravated battery in the death of a schoolmate who collapsed after a fight.

Dustin Howard, 16, of Gardner, entered the plea the day that his trial was set to begin. Howard had been scheduled to stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge in Johnson County Juvenile Court for the February death of Dakota DeRemus, 16.

The judge can accept or reject the plea agreement when Howard is sentenced Thursday.

Under the plea agreement, Howard won't do any jail time. Instead he will serve 18 months of supervised probation.

DeRemus, who had a congenital heart condition, collapsed and died after a fight with Howard in February. According to court testimony, stress from the fight contributed to his death.

DeRemus' mother, Angela Meireis, said she learned about Howard's plea late Sunday night.

"I said it was time we all needed to make peace with this and come to some normalcy in our lives," she said.

Meireis added that the plea agreement is "best for everyone in this situation because there was no win or lose for anyone."

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