Three men charged in the beating death of a teenager that took place in the parking lot of LeBron James’s I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, have been indicted on charges lesser than the one of murder with which they were originally charged.
Ethan Liming, 17, was beaten to death on June 2 after an incident that began with a group of youths Liming was with firing a water gun at another group of teenagers, precipitating a brawl.
The Summit County Grand Jury charged Deshawn Stafford, 20, with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault, according to WOIO-TV. Tyler Stafford, 19, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault. Donovon Jones, 21, was indicted on two counts of assault.
Ethan Liming, a white teen beaten to death by three black teens as they shouted racial slurs. Suspects not charged with murder or hate crime. Ask yourself if they races had been the other way if we would have murder and hate crime charges, or CNN coverage. https://t.co/GoUMlsyvAy
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) July 29, 2022
Liming, 17, died of blunt force trauma, a medical examiner ruled, according to the New York Post.
The autopsy said Liming had a fractured skull, and also had a shoe print on his chest. Police found Liming on his back, bleeding from his head, nose, mouth and ears. The fracture was of the occipital bone at the base of the skull.
Jonathan Sinn, who represents Deshawn Stafford, said the charges were “the logical starting point as we go into the trial process,” according to Cleveland.com.
“What those boys did was stand their ground,” Sinn said. “What happened was a tragedy.”
“They feel they were made victims when their son was murdered and made victims again by the system,” said Mike Callahan, acting as spokesman for the family.
“They are angry and frustrated. It’s very difficult for them,” he said.
Eddie Sipplen, Jones’s attorney, said no charges should have been filed because Liming and his friends started the incident.
“Ethan and his friends were wrong,” Sipplen said. “They thought it was funny. My client and his friends did not.”
— New York Post (@nypost) July 30, 2022
The indictments did not explain why the murder charge was dropped. Brad Gessner, chief counsel for the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, said facts have emerged since the initial charges but said he could not make them public.
“At this point, we have been focused on the acts that led to Ethan’s death and those who committed the offenses,” he said, adding that none of Liming’s friends – all of whom were juveniles – could face charges.
All three defendants have been in Summit County Jail since they were arrested last month, Bond in their cases is set at $1 million. Attorneys for all three say they plan to call for that to be reduced.
“I don’t know why my client is being held on a $1 million bond — a 19-year-old with no criminal record in a case in which he was minding his own business,” Donald Gallick, Tyler Stafford’s attorney, said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.