District Court Judge Joel Johnson sent the juvenile delinquent to a Texas Youth Commission facility on Feb. 23 after he caused problems while enrolled in a boot camp for troubled teens.
“I have never seen my juvenile probation department so adamant about getting somebody sent to TYC,” Johnson told the teen during the court hearing. “I’ve served 15 years on the bench and I haven’t heard them ever say they couldn’t work with a kid.”
The juvenile probation department asked Johnson to revoke the boy’s probation because he wasn’t following the rules at the boot camp for wayward youth.
District Court Judge Janna Whatley sentenced the boy to the boot camp last fall and three years of juvenile probation after he stole a skateboard from another boy and then stabbed the boy in the stomach with a knife during a confrontation later.
The victim and his mother were in court on Feb. 23.
The mother said her son’s wound still hurts and is so painful that he cannot play sports or do any physical activity in which his stomach muscles would come into use.
“He can’t be bumped there or it causes him pain and he can’t be left home alone and even if someone’s at home with him the blinds have to be shut and the doors locked,” she said.
Her son has a scar five inches long on his stomach.
“It hurts when I touch it,” he told a reporter after the hearing.
The boy said he was in a skate shop in Beeville last August, buying parts for his skateboard when the other boy came inside the shop and stole his skateboard.
“I put my skateboard on a rack and a couple of minutes later my friends outside came in and said he had my skateboard,” the boy recalled.
The boy and the shop owner chased the thief down and during the confrontation the thief stabbed the victim in the stomach.
The boy was charged with one count of theft between $50 and $500, a misdemeanor; one count of aggravated assault causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon, a knife – a second degree felony offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine; and one count of threatening to commit aggravated assault causing bodily injury with a weapon, a state jail felony offense punishable by up to two years in a state jail.
Assistant District Attorney James Sales told Judge Johnson during the Feb. 23 bench hearing that the wayward youth has never expressed any remorse or taken any responsibility for his actions.
Sales said the teen cared so little about the consequences of his actions that he refused to follow the rules of his probation.
The kid talked out of turn, got out of his seat without permission and committed other rule violations, he noted.
Beeville attorney Boyd Bauer, who represented the teen, noted that the rules his client broke were minor, and that the boy had passed his coursework and successfully completed his substance abuse counseling sessions.
But Sales said the boy’s rebellious nature likely would “embolden” other juvenile delinquents at the boot camp to rebel and spoke of the kid’s refusal to follow the rules of society.
The boy testified on his own behalf and assured Johnson that he would follow the rules.
“Why should the judge believe you will follow the rules now when you haven’t in the past?” Sales asked.
“Because this is my last chance,” the boy replied. “I don’t get any more chances after this.”
Sales asked the boy if he was aware of the gravity of his actions.
“Do you recognize that when you put a knife into a living human being that they can die, that you can take away everything they ever had and everything they ever would be?” Sales asked.
“Yes, sir,” the boy responded.
“You’re doing real well saying ‘yes, sir,’ behaving, when a judge is in front of you. Why can’t you do it when other teens are around? Is it because it wouldn’t be cool?”
The teen shrugged his shoulders.
“Do you ever think about what you did, about the stabbing?” Sales asked.
“Yes, sir, every day and I will for the rest of my life,” the teen responded.
If that’s so, why didn’t he behave at the boot camp, Sales asked.
“You couldn’t even follow simple rules like asking for permission to speak or get up from your seat,” Sales noted. “You were given a reprieve. You weren’t sent to TYC. You should have been walking the line, towing the line, and if you don’t understand the gravity of what you did, then I have deep concerns about your future.”
Bauer noted that the teen was not kicked out of the boot camp and could still return.
The juvenile probation officials conceded that the boy could return to the boot camp.
However, the judge expressed concern about the boy’s actions since he was brought back from the boot camp and placed in a local juvenile detention center to await his court hearing.
Johnson noted that the boy had five rule violations at the center during his brief stay there.
“How can you get into trouble at my detention center and then come here today and tell me you are going to finally get it right,” Johnson said. “You are not going to get it right. It’s clear to me you are not going to comply with the terms of your probation.”