Sentence Change for Teens Riles Dead Man's Family

Teens who killed man by dropping sandbag get time in treatment center, not prison
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2018 12:50 PM CDT
Stock image   (Getty Images/IPGGutenbergUKLtd)

(Newser) – A family is outraged after four Ohio teens had their prison sentences for murder and manslaughter suspended in favor of time in a treatment center, ABC News reports. According to WTVG, the boys—between the ages of 13 and 14—were walking to a store to buy candy last December in Toledo when they started throwing rocks off a freeway overpass. Then they dropped a sandbag. The sandbag landed on a passing vehicle, injuring 22-year-old father Marquis Byrd. Byrd died in the hospital three days later. The boy who dropped the sandbag pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to the Department of Youth Services until he turned 21, the Toledo Blade reports. The other three boys pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and were sentenced to three years each in the state prison.

On Friday, those sentences were suspended to time in the Lucas County Youth Treatment Center. The average stay at the center is eight months. Judge Denise Cubbon says she suspended the original sentences "so these boys change their behavior and can become productive members of our community." After the change in sentencing, Marcus Byrd said the family didn't get justice for his brother. "Suspended what? If you do what? So eight months you get to go home?" the Byrd family's lawyer, Lillian Diallo, tells WTVG. All four teens apologized to the Byrd family in court. "I pray for him and his family every single day and night and cannot imagine what they are going through and how they feel right now," one of the boys said at Friday's sentencing. (Read more Ohio stories.)

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