4 teens given home incarceration for beating death of disabled man
The family of 62-year-old Lonnie Bard was stunned by the plea deal for the teens.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The faces of Lonnie Bard's family members showed anger and disbelief as four teenagers were sentenced to home incarceration and diversion Monday in the elderly disabled man's beating death.
Bard, 62, was savagely attacked and robbed in July 2017. Police said the teenagers jumped the man at random, snapping his neck and taking his cigarettes, money and cell phone before leaving him for dead in an alley near South 22nd Street and Stone Alley.
"Your parents failed you..." Bards daughter Lonnie McCray said. "It shows how cowardly you all were to jump on my father who was elderly and disabled."
The plea deal reduces murder and robbery charges to facilitation to murder and robbery against 17-year-old Joseph Foster and 18-year-olds Tyrone Cheatham and Bryan Litton. Yasin Abdulkadir, 15, took a separate "Alford plea," meaning that he accepts the same punishment mandated by the others' guilty pleas but doesn't accept guilt. All were under 18 at the time of the crime.
The five-year plea agreement allows them home incarceration and diversion. Markel Rice, 17, is expected to receive the same deal but was not in Monday's hearing as he's in state detention on other juvenile charges.
In exchange for the lighter punishment all of the teens are required to testify against now-18-year-old Tavion Miley, known as "Trigga." Court records say he continued to use Bard's cell phone after the attack. After the teens testify against Miley they can have their felonies dismissed.
"This is a pat on the back," McCray said. "It's worse than a slap on the wrist. It's a pat on the back. Go do a crime with your buddies then tell on them, and you'll go home free to do the crime again."
Prosecutor Scott Drabenstadt, who offered the plea agreement, quickly left the courtroom declining to answer questions. In laying out the reasons for the deal, Drabenstadt told judge Darryl Lavery he couldn't win a conviction against everyone in the group for murder and robbery charges.
"We sit here for an injustice for us, for our family and our community." McCray told the teens during a victim's impact statement. "It's an injustice for us, but it's an opportunity for you. Choose wisely."
Bard is survived by five children, his mother and a twin sister.
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