Teen gets probation in 'ninja' attack
Under plea deal, boy must get counseling for anger issues
River Hills — A teenager who struck another boy with a machete in a ninja-like attack pleaded no contest in juvenile court Friday to second-degree reckless injury.
The River Hills boy, now 17, admitted that he struck a 14-year-old Bayside boy over the right eye with the weapon in April in a wooded area behind Nicolet High School. Children's Court Judge Frederick Rosa placed the youth on probation until he turns 18 in June.
The agreement, which came after months of negotiation, was reached on what was supposed to be the first day of the boy's trial. He initially was charged in juvenile court with substantial battery.
Boy will stay at home
As part of the deal, the boy will be allowed to remain at his parents' home under close supervision. He returned there in June after nearly two months in secure detention following his arrest.
Other conditions of the probation include a requirement the boy continue to attend school - he had been home-schooled - and have no contact with the victim or his family, other than writing a formal letter of apology within the next 30 days.
The boy also is prohibited from possessing any type of weapon, and must attend counseling to address possible anger management issues.
His eyes filled with tears, the boy apologized for the incident and assured the judge he would follow through with all conditions of his ruling.
"I'll follow your rules tooth and nail," he said.
An unclear picture
Throughout the various court hearings in the past several months, there have been different variations of what took place in the wooded area on April 27.
"But there is a bottom line," Rosa said before handing down his ruling. "There was an assault. There was a weapon utilized and there was a young man who was severely injured. It could have killed him."
Testimony revealed the victim, along with three friends, entered the wooded area after hearing previous reports of a ninja in the nature preserve. The Bayside boy departed from his companions briefly and at that time was struck by the River Hills boy, who was dressed like a ninja at the time.
The wooded area behind Nicolet abuts private properties in River Hills. More recently, there have been complaints from homeowners of trespassing by students in the area. The machete the boy possessed at the time of the incident was allegedly used to clear vegetation on a private residence, based on prior court testimony.
Three-day trial had been set
The deal struck between both sides means the case does not have to go to trial. Rosa initially set three possible dates for a trial that would have kicked off Friday and continued Aug. 11 and Sept. 7, if necessary. Both the defense and prosecution were slated to call eight witnesses, had the case gone to trial.
In recent months, the boy has undergone psychological evaluations, and officials have deemed him low risk and low needs. Because he has demonstrated exemplary behavior throughout the pretrial period, Rosa decided against having the boy placed in a secure facility.
"I wish you luck, and I hope you turn this bad situation into a positive," Rosa said to the boy.
Victim's family sympathetic
The victim's father said he and his family are comfortable with the agreement.
"We don't want to see this young man go to jail," the man said in court. "But we hope everyone has learned something from this. It could have been a lot worse."
The father said his son has recovered from the injuries.
"The gash has healed and it has healed well," the victim's father said of the wound, which required 20 stitches to close. "There will be a permanent scar and other medical treatment might be necessary."
The defendant's father said his son has a history of demonstrating exemplary behavior. He assured the judge he and his wife will be closely monitoring their son throughout the probationary period.
"He's always been obedient with us, ever since he was a little kid," the defendant's father said.
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