WARREN - Two of the three teens accused of taking part in a brawl in which 15-year-old Verdarell Lowery was hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat last month had pleas of not true entered on their behalf Friday in Trumbull County Juvenile Court.
Magistrate Monte Horton entered the pleas - the equivalent of an innocent plea in common pleas court - for Shawndon Flowers to a charge of complicity to commit assault, while the attorney for Jovan Daniel, Michael Scala, entered a not true plea for his client for a charge of simple assault.
Jovan Daniel's brother, Johntee Daniel, had his plea entered by his attorney when he had a detention hearing July 28. The Daniels brothers are scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 24.
Jovan Daniel Plea
Both defendants asked if they could be released but Juvenile Prosecutor Stanley Elkins said he wanted them in detention and Horton agreed. Flowers was crying when his hearing ended and he was told he would not be released until at least his Sept. 17 preliminary hearing.
Horton also told Flowers that he and his co-defendants could be labeled ''serious youthful offenders,'' which would open the door to have them prosecuted as adults. He told the pair that if the motion is filed and approved, they could be indicted by a grand jury, but some aspects of their case could still end up in juvenile court. They even could face the possibility of a jury trial in juvenile court, which is rare, or have their cases heard by a grand jury, he said.
Additionally, Horton said they could receive both a juvenile sentence and an adult sentence, and after serving the juvenile sentence could have the adult sentence held in abeyance, only to be served if they violate their terms of probation for their juvenile sentence.
Scala declined comment after the hearing, as did a representative of Flowers' family. Elkins said he was not sure yet if would file the motion to have the teens labeled as serious youthful offenders.
Lowery, of Logan Avenue S.E., has been in Akron Children's Hospital since he was injured July 21. Police found him while trying to break up a fight among about 50 juveniles at Brier Street S.E. and Duke Avenue S.E. Police said the fight was the result of a summerlong feud between two gangs.
Police made the arrests after they obtained cell phone video of Lowery being hit with the bat. Johntee Daniel is charged with two counts of felonious assault and assault; police say he was the one who hit Daniel with the bat and that his brother stomped on his head after he fell down.