Boy accused of killing schoolmate during campus attack arraigned


RIVERSIDE (CNS) – One of two boys accused in an ultimately fatal attack on a 13-year-old boy at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley pleaded not guilty today to voluntary manslaughter.
The youth, whose identity was not disclosed because of his age, appeared before a judge at the Riverside Juvenile Dependency Court to answer the charge stemming from the alleged Sept. 16 assault on the victim, publicly identified only as Diego.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
The second youth accused in the fatality, whose identity also was not released, is slated to make his initial court appearance on Oct. 15, D.A.’s spokesman John Hall said.
Both defendants are being held in Riverside Juvenile Hall.
David Wohl, attorney for the boy arraigned this morning, told reporters that a culture pervades on the Landmark campus that has made fighting an accepted “part of life.”
`”happened all the time,” he said. “Most of the time, thankfully, no one dies. But the school lost control, and the school allowed this culture to fester. And one child is dead because of it.”
Wohl is petitioning the Moreno Valley Unified School District to release records concerning past incidents of bullying on the campus, saying his client was also a victim.
Diego was removed from life support last month after he was declared brain dead.
The assault happened about 1 p.m. on Sept. 16 outside a building on the Legendary Drive campus, according to sheriff’s Sgt. William Stens. He said deputies were called to the location to investigate after the boy was taken to Riverside University Medical Center.
A portion of the attack was videotaped on a student’s cell phone and shows one boy taunting and moments later punching the victim in the face, causing him to fall backward and bang his head on a pillar. Witnesses said he began foaming at the mouth.
The two defendants were arrested hours afterward, initially for assault.
The school district has held at least one parent-teacher conference since the attack to address concerns about campus safety.