A 10-year-old boy was found delinquent Wednesday on charges of battery and disrupting school during a nearly six-hour Bibb County Juvenile Court hearing.
Former Macon Mayor Jack Ellis brought the boy’s case to light last week during a news conference in which Ellis said the district attorney’s office “trumped up” gang charges against four boys involved in a fight in a fourth-grade classroom at Hartley Elementary School in March.
The boys’ names are being withheld because The Telegraph does not generally name minors accused of crimes.
After hearing testimony Wednesday from several students, a teacher, an administrator and a school police officer, Judge Paula Kapiloff ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to find the boy delinquent of the gang activity charges.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The 11-year-old victim of the fight testified that the 10-year-old and three other boys attacked him near the end of the school day on March 18 when the teacher stepped out of the room.
One boy put him in a choke hold while the 10-year-old and two boys punched him in the stomach with closed fists, the victim said.
The 10-year-old also told his side of the story during Wednesday’s hearing.
Sitting in a chair on the witness stand, his feet didn’t touch the ground.
He denied punching the other student in the classroom.
Instead, he said he was sitting at his desk.
The boy did admit hitting the boy in the hallway on the way to the library because the other student bumped into him while cutting in front of him in line.
Like other students who testified, the 10-year-old said he overheard his accuser talking with another boy in the library about their respective cliques.
Students testified one of the boys involved in the fight said his clique, the “Cash Money Kings,” wanted to fight the alleged victim’s clique known as “The Brooklyns.”
The 10-year-old testified that the boy from “Cash Money Kings” tried to recruit him and other boys involved in the classroom fight into the clique.
“He tried to get me. I said no,” the boy testified.
He said he thinks the other boys attacked his accuser because he had a clique of his own.
The 10-year-old boy’s mother, Jeanette McCrory, spoke in court before Kapiloff issued the sentence.
“If anyone is a bully, it’s the way the DA chooses to target little children and treat them like adults,” McCrory said.
McCrory said she still thinks her son is innocent.
The boy must serve between one and two years on probation, complete 60 hours of community service, attend anger management counseling, write an apology letter to the victim and his parents, serve 30 days in home confinement, abide by a nightly curfew and attend a mentorship program.
He also must attend school and have no contact with the victim or the other three boys involved in the fight.
If the boy does not meet conditions of his sentence, he could be sent to a youth detention center for 30 days, the judge ruled.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.