tampabay.com

10-year-old guilty in beating

The boy is convicted of helping two others beat a homeless man.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 11, 2007


DAYTONA BEACH - A 10-year-old boy was found guilty Thursday in the beating of a homeless Army veteran that left the man so severely injured he had to undergo reconstructive surgery.

Circuit Judge John Watson found the boy guilty of aggravated battery in the March 27 attack in which three boys beat and stoned John D'Amico with a concrete block. The child was in court shackled and wearing an oversized white jumpsuit.

His mother left the courtroom noticeably upset and refused to comment. Before the hearing began, she was hopeful: "If he gets to come home today, I'm going to bust out crying."

The boy, another 10-year-old and Jeremy Woods, 17, ganged up on D'Amico, who is 6 feet 2, as he and a friend walked through a crime-ridden Daytona Beach neighborhood, prosecutors said.

D'Amico, 58, still has a bandage over his left eye and may lose sight out of it. He testified that he never provoked the boys, as they claimed.

"The judge saw through the nonsense, " he said outside court. "They need to hold him until he can prove that he'll never do this to somebody else because next time he can kill somebody."

The boy has been in juvenile custody since the attack and will remain there at least until his May 24 sentencing. He could be held in the juvenile system until he turns 21 if the judge considers him a habitual offender, or he could be given probation or counseling.

The other 10-year-old pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery on April 19. He faces up to a year in juvenile detention.

Woods has pleaded not guilty to aggravated battery charges and could get up to 15 years in prison if convicted.