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Boy Gets 18 Years in Fatal Park Beating of Transient

December 24, 1987|GABE FUENTES | Times Staff Writer

A 16-year-old boy was sentenced Wednesday to California Youth Authority custody for fatally beating a homeless man and severely injuring another in a Burbank park.

Pasadena Superior Court Judge Lillian M. Stevens sentenced the Burbank teen-ager, who was prosecuted as an adult and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last month, to 18 years to life.

From now until he turns 25, the Youth Authority can release him or remand him to a court for a state prison sentence, depending on his behavior, Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Wondries said.

Juveniles sent to the Youth Authority normally must be released at age 25. But the teen-ager sentenced Wednesday could serve the rest of his sentence after age 25 in state prison because he was prosecuted as an adult, Wondries said. If he is held past 25, he will be eligible for parole after serving a total of nine years in juvenile and adult custody, she said.

Besides pleading guilty to the murder charge, the boy pleaded guilty to two charges of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. He was one of two youths who admitted guilt in the July 14 beatings in which John M. Simpson, 33, was killed and William L. Stahl, 44, was severely injured in McCambridge Park.

Simpson died in Burbank Community Hospital about two weeks after the incident. Stahl is in fair condition in the extended-care unit of St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, a spokeswoman there said.

The other youth, 17, of Burbank, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced last week to Youth Authority custody. Although his sentence was 16 years to life, he cannot be held beyond his 25th birthday because he was prosecuted as a juvenile.

Wondries said the younger boy was prosecuted as an adult because he took the dominant role in the beatings by delivering lethal karate kicks.

After the boys beat Simpson and Stahl, a group of bystanders pulled them away from the transients, Wondries said. The boys returned moments later and beat Stahl again, leaving him "in a pool of blood . . . and just in a gruesome condition," Wondries said.

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