Four Las Vegas high school students were indicted as adults on Friday for the fatal beating of their schoolmate in November. The students were charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit battery for the death of Jonathan Lewis, Jr., 17, after a brutal beatdown in an alleyway near their school.
Las Vegas police said 10 students aged 13 to 17 participated in the beating, nine of whom have been arrested in the attack. They are still looking for the tenth suspect. The five students left out of the second-degree murder indictment await separate hearings, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney John Giordani.
The fight was captured on cellphone video and circulated around social media, showing Lewis stripping off his shirt in preparation for the fight before being swarmed by the 10 attackers. Las Vegas Police Lieutenant Jason Johansson said the attackers could be seen in the video as they “pull him to the ground and begin kicking, punching and stomping on him.”
Johansson described how Lewis, unconscious, was found and carried to campus by someone passing through the area. School staff then called 911.
The reason for the fight’s deadly consequences continues to elude officials. According to them, it started over a stolen vape pen and a pair of wireless headphones. Giordani said in a court hearing last month that although Lewis threw the first punch, the four suspects had not been acting in self-defense as their lawyers claim.
“The videos are pretty horrific. Jonathan is in a fetal position” as he is being attacked, Giordani said.
Lewis’ family has not reacted publicly to news of the indictments, which came just days after he would have turned 18. In a Facebook post paying tribute to his son on Jan. 10, Lewis’ dad wrote: “Today my son would be 18! Miss every moment we lost and will grieve for all my days and will love you forever and ever just like I do all my children and love life to the fullest for you and shine with love every day for all humanity for you son!”
The family has said they plan to set up a foundation in the teen’s memory for at-risk youth.