Teens plead guilty in after-school fight

Three 13-year-olds involved in melee last month to spend year in detention center

Section: Capital Region,  Page: B4

Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2005

ALBANY - Three youths accused of gang assault last month in the stabbing of a fellow middle school student have pleaded guilty to lesser charges and will spend one year in a secure detention center.

Twins Sir and Mister Taylor and Intelligent Infinite Botts, all 13, were accused of participating in an after-school fight March 15 near Philip Livingston Magnet Academy that left another 13-year-old hospitalized with a collapsed lung. They entered their pleas Monday. A fourth teen, Bellal Turner, 14, already pleaded guilty to a lesser, misdemeanor charge of third-degree assault and also faces a maximum of one year in a secure detention center. Exact details of Monday's pleas were difficult to confirm because of the defendants' ages and that Family Court records are sealed.

Albany County spokeswoman Kerri Battle offered what she could, following a Freedom of Information Law request filed by the Times Union to the county attorney's office.

"Each individual reached a plea agreement and each resulted in one year of out-of-home placement," she said.

The three teens who entered their pleas Monday return to Family Court on May 2 where reports and recommendations concerning their futures will be discussed, court officials said. It wasn't clear when Taylor would return for a similar proceeding.

"Nobody invested in this should turn a blind eye," said Detective James Miller, spokesman for Albany's Department of Public Safety. Miller added that keeping kids safe and occupied must be a collective effort, not just a job for police or school officials.

"We're maintaining a large police presence," Miller said. "But that serves as a deterrent, not a solution. I do believe there is a high percentage of kids who seek out structure and when they don't have it, their only alternative is to act out."

The March 15 stabbing occurred during a melee involving 40 to 60 middle school kids, whom police have said are members of rival "baby" gangs, the Jungle Junkies and Orange Gambino Killers.

Others, however, have said the gang known as OGK, or the Original Gangsta Killers, was the one that faced off with the Jungle Junkies that day.

The melee took place in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store near Henry Johnson Boulevard and Livingston Avenue about 20 minutes after school ended for the day.

Witnesses testified that the youths were throwing bicycles at each other and squaring off against one another with box cutters and knives.

Police stepped up patrols in the city and also at Crossgates Mall after a pair of fights that were thought to be related to the Livingston situation played out among dozens of teens.

But there have been several other after-school fights since that one at Livingston, Miller said: "You get large groups and there's conflict. School kids have been fighting for a long time. But it's the severity of it that's troubling. And how violent it became."

Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at 434-2403 or by e-mail at mbolton@timesunion.com.