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Youth Pleads Guilty in Murder of Transient

December 04, 1987

A 16-year-old Burbank youth who led an attack on two transients, one of whom later died, has pleaded guilty to murder and assault charges, authorities said.

The youth entered pleas Nov. 25 in Burbank Municipal Court to one count of second-degree murder and to two counts of assault with great bodily injury in the July 14 attack in Burbank's McCambridge Park, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Wondries. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 29 in Pasadena Superior Court.

Wondries said the youth could be sentenced to life in state prison. If so, however, he would be sent to the California Youth Authority until he is 18, when he could be transferred to state prison.

His accomplice, also 16, pleaded guilty in Pasadena Juvenile Court on Sept. 14 to one count of second-degree murder and one count of assault with great bodily injury. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14.

The two youths told police they had been drinking the night of the attack, in which John Simpson, 32, was killed and William Stahl, 45, was critically injured. Stahl remains in a coma at St. Joseph Medical Center.

The youth who pleaded guilty last week was the leader in the attacks and has a history of violent behavior, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Edwin F. Greene. He was charged with two counts of assault because he attacked Stahl twice, Wondries said.

Police said the youths began their attacks after spotting the victims about 10:30 p.m. Six men who were lawn bowling nearby saw the attacks and called authorities. The two youths were arrested the following day.

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