Greenlee County Courthouse
By Jon Johnson
MORENCI – Five juveniles have been or are in the process of being given juvenile probation stemming from an assault at the Morenci skatepark on Nov. 11. Four suspects accepted plea deals with one still pending.
The suspects involved are 16-, and 17-year-old subjects who were involved in an altercation with a 20-year-old man. It is unknown to what degree alcohol was involved, but both the victim and at least one of the juvenile suspects tested positive for it.
According to Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office reports, deputies were dispatched to the skatepark at about 9:46 p.m. regarding a fight. Upon arrival, the victim was located covered in blood with a laceration above his left eye and on the back of his head. After attempting to get a statement, the victim was transported by ambulance to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for further medical treatment, where he was treated and later released.
The victim showed signs of intoxication and was not cooperative with law enforcement’s efforts. He reportedly said his injuries were caused by a fall and when deputies attempted to speak with the juveniles the victim allegedly yelled out, “Don’t say (expletive deleted)”.
The teens told investigators that the victim was drunk and had attacked one of their group, prompting a self-defense response. However, they failed to mention how much response there was. But in this day and age of social media, deputies learned of a video of the assault that was being shared. The Gila Herald has pixelated the video to keep the juvenile suspects and victims’ identities withheld. Warning, the video shows graphic violence.
While waiting to be picked up by their parents, a couple of the suspects allegedly confessed their involvement with one saying, “I stomped that (expletive deleted) head in!”, and another, “I used brass knuckles and (expletive deleted) him up”.
Two of the juveniles were taken into custody that evening and referred to juvenile probation while the other three were arrested as well.
Facing charges of assault, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and more, four of the five suspects have already signed plea agreements and have been sentenced to probation.