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Charges could be dismissed for teens tied to fatal beating of Rancho student

Updated March 14, 2024 - 7:14 pm

A Las Vegas judge is set to decide if she will dismiss charges against four teenagers being tried as adults in the fatal beating of a Rancho High School student.

Treavion Randolph, 16; Dontral Beaver, 16; Damien Hernandez, 18; and Gianni Robinson, 17, have been indicted and have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit battery in the death of 17-year-old Jonathan Lewis.

They are four of the nine teenagers who were arrested in connection with Lewis’ death, after he was attacked on Nov. 1 outside of Rancho High School’s campus.

During a court hearing Thursday, defense attorneys for the four teens all argued that the murder and conspiracy charges should be dropped, and that the teenagers did not agree to attack Lewis. They have all filed petitions asking the judge to dismiss the charges.

“It wasn’t planned, there was no coordinated series of attacks,” said Karen Connnolly, who represents Hernandez. “This was a spontaneous response.”

Investigators have said that Lewis was attacked by a group of up to 10 teenagers in an alleyway near the high school. The fatal beating was captured on video that showed the teens stomping, kicking and punching Lewis until he fell unconscious. He died of his injuries six days later.

Surveillance footage showed that Lewis pushed a student, who was one of the teens later arrested, and then punched another student before he was swarmed by the group of teenagers. Defense attorneys have also argued that Lewis’ friend, who was also attacked, had a knife during the confrontation.

Defense attorneys said Thursday that the teenagers participated in the attack for varying lengths of time. Special Public Defender Daniel Martinez, who represents Randolph, argued that his client was involved in the attack for “less than 10 seconds,” and that other teenagers were actually seen stomping on Lewis.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly argued that a conspiracy does not have to involve the defendants communicating with each other. Rather, prosecutors need to show a “coordinated series of acts,” she said.

“There’s nothing going on except for inflicting injuries on the victim in this case,” Weckerly said. “That was a coordinated series of acts.”

District Judge Tierra Jones said she would issue a written order with her decision on the petitions. She did not say when she would issue the order.

Five of the juveniles who were arrested have remained in the juvenile court system because of their ages. Four have admitted guilt to a voluntary manslaughter charge.

Also Thursday, Family Court Judge Linda Marquis ordered one of the juveniles to be sent to a correctional facility to attend school and rehabilitation programs, according to Brigid Duffy, director of the Clark County District Attorney office’s juvenile division. The boy was the fourth juvenile to be sentenced after he admitted guilt.

All of the juveniles who have been sentenced were ordered sent to a correctional facility, including a 13-year-old boy who was sentenced Wednesday.

The juveniles in Family Court have not been publicly identified. The fifth juvenile’s case is ongoing, and attorneys said Wednesday that they are still in the discovery process.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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