MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Eight teens pleaded guilty during Juvenile Court; one teen was sent to rehabilitation and placed in DCS custody; one teen entered an Alford Plea.
The teens are being tried in Juvenile Court and will not be identified. The litigation took place Tuesday for their involvement in the September Poplar Plaza Kroger attack.
Eight teens pleaded guilty
The teens were sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service by Aug. 3, 2015. They must remain in school and submit a letter of apology to probation officers, that will be delivered to the victims.
If the teens do not get into anymore trouble with police, the charges will be dismissed. All eight were ordered to stay in court all day to watch proceedings and get an understanding of what happens to other juveniles who break the law.
"I want to say that I'm sorry for being with that bad crowd," one of the teens said. "I learned today that when I see a group of people doing something bad I should walk away and call someone for help."
Attorneys defending the teens say the punishment is fair. "Once the emotional reaction settled down, then we were able to collectively look at what we were dealing with. We are dealing with a problem in our community."
One teen chose to go to trial
Trial started at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Character witnesses and the teen's mother took the stand. The mother told the judge her son deserved punishment, but should not be thrown under the bus.
Then the teen himself took the stand. He testified he hit the Kroger employee who was filming the event and then kicked him. All this happened after the teen left Cici's where he was celebrating his birthday.
"You made a decision that night to attack someone until they were unconscious," the judge said. "You alone are responsible for your choice."
The judge then sent the teen to a hospital for rehabilitation and put him in DCS custody.
In the court hallway, when the dust settled, the teen's mother apologized to the Kroger employee.
His response: "I forgive you."
One teen entered an Alford Plea
One teen entered and an Alford Plea and will be taken into DCS custody. He had several other charges from other incidents.
An Alford Plea is a term used in the American court system where a person enters a guilty plea without admitting to actually being guilty.