Two more teens involved in Urbana High fight sentenced

Two more teens involved in Urbana High fight sentenced

URBANA — A Champaign County judge on Tuesday sentenced one of the teens involved in an early February brawl at Urbana High School to a year of probation and referred a second to a diversion program.

A 16-year-old boy had pleaded guilty to mob action in March, while another 16-year-old who had no prior criminal record was referred to a program of public service and counseling. Should he successfully complete it by later this summer, the petition charging him with mob action will be dismissed.

Another 15-year-old boy was given the diversion option earlier this month by Judge Tom Difanis.

The sentences for the youths have hinged on their backgrounds and their behavior since the Feb. 4 melee, which resulted in a teacher inadvertently getting knocked out as she tried to break up a fight between two opposing groups of young men.

The boy that Ladd sentenced Tuesday to a year of probation had a prior court case for battery. Ladd noted that she had received a "very positive report" about him, his school attendance, his grades and his ability to follow the rules set by his mother.

"I apologize for the bad stuff I've done and you will never see me in this courtroom again," the youth said.

"I don't think you're a bad person," Ladd responded. "You've allowed yourself to get sucked into a drama going on around you. Don't be a follower. Be a leader."

As part of his probation, he was ordered to perform 50 hours of public service and have no contact with the seven other boys who were charged for the fight that shut the high school down early that day.

So far, only one of the eight charged has been sentenced to prison. That happened last month, when Ladd received a report from detention authorities about the 15-year-old's poor behavior, his fascination with rap lyrics about gang violence, and his threats to staff. He had also been arrested again for mob action after having been released for the high school incident.

Cases of another three of the youths have not yet been resolved. An eighth received 30 months of probation.

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