LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County District Attorney defended his decision to try a 13-year-old boy as an adult in the brutal 10-person beating that killed a Rancho High School student Wednesday, saying the shocking manner in which the young man died helped make his choice.
“We’re not talking about a six-year-old,” Steve Wolfson, the district attorney, told the 8 News Now Investigators. “We’re not talking about an eight-year-old.”
The murder – caught on video that has since gone viral – of 17-year-old Jonathan Lewis in November has resulted in eight teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 18, including two brothers, facing charges.
Metro police on Wednesday released photos of two additional young men who can be seen on the video but have not yet been identified.
Wolfson told the 8 News Now Investigators there are other videos even more gruesome than the video readily accessible on the internet. He said it would be weeks or months before those videos would be made public.
All eight defendants appeared in Clark County Family Court electronically. The eldest teens will automatically face adult charges. The younger four need to be certified by a juvenile court judge at a hearing in December if they are to be tried as adults.
“This is an ongoing and current investigation,” Wolfson said, saying that he would be evaluating each participants’ role in the beating.
He said he would also be reviewing video and other evidence to determine whether to charge additional people who may have played a role in encouraging the beating which was over stolen wireless earphones and a vape cartridge, police said.
Most relatives leaving the courthouse refused to speak with the 8 News Now Investigators except for the uncle of one of the 16-year-olds, the first to be arraigned Wednesday morning.
At first, the man had no comment but when pressed with questions about the beating video he said, “Nobody knows who did what. All you see is a bunch of kids in a crowd. You don’t know who is who or what is what.”
When asked if he thought his nephew was innocent, the man told the 8 News Now Investigators, “I don’t know,” adding that the situation was terrible not only for his own family but, “for all the families.”