PRESCOTT, Arizona - Two of the three teens charges in the assault of a 14-year-old boy were released to the custody of their parents Wednesday.
Daniel McKendree was beaten on Jan. 3 in the Entertainment District of Prescott Valley, PVPD Sgt. Brandon Bonney
said. The three suspects confronted the victim and either hit him or kept others from intervening, Bonney said.
The Daily Courier is not releasing the names of the minor defendants. They face charges including aggravated assault, rioting and disorderly conduct.
Daniel sustained serious head injuries and was taken to a Phoenix hospital for surgery.
He was in the courtroom Wednesday for the release hearings of the two 13-year-old boys and the 15-year-old boy accused of assaulting him, as were family members and friends, many of whom wore shirts that said, "Justice for Daniel - End Bullying." A bailiff told them they would have to take off the shirts before the proceeding began.
Jessica Farley, Daniel's mother, told Superior Court Judge Anna Young, "Daniel has expressed that he does not want them released under any conditions. He is concerned about retaliation."
Daniel did not speak in court.
The parents of each of the defendants asked Young to allow their sons to return home. One mother said, "There's no reason that (Daniel) should be afraid. My son is not an assassin."
Another said, "There is no retaliation. We are very sorry. He did a terrible thing but all we can do is grow from here."
Deputy County Attorney Mike Daniels told Young that the state "is manifestly against release at this time."
Young, who had requested and received psychiatric evaluations of all three defendants, said that despite the fact that "what Mr. McKendree has suffered is extremely serious," there are "really limited parameters that allow the court to detain a juvenile."
She imposed conditions on the release of the two defendants: they could only be at home, school, or counseling; they have to wear a GPS-tracking bracelet; they cannot use cellphones, the Internet, or social media of any kind; and they can't have any contact with the victim, his family, or the co-defendants. Young also ordered that juvenile probation officers have discretion to search the defendants and their personal property in they believe there's been a violation.
"These are the orders of the court," Young said. "If you violate them, you will pick up new charges."
The third defendant allgedly was found with a sharpened toothbrush in his cell on Feb. 11, and there were accusations that his father had posted on Daniel's Facebook profile.
His attorney, Cliff Hill, said, "It's unfortunate that (he) is being impacted by his father's decisions," and added about the toothbrush incident, "He didn't intend any harm. He made a bonehead decision."
Young ordered that he not be released, saying that she wasn't holding him because of his father's Facebook post, but because she believed that, if he was released, there was a probability he would re-offend.
The defendants next appear in about a week, when the attorneys expect to have plea agreements ready.
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