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Four teens headed to trial in Virginia assault case

Four Virginia teens now stand accused of juvenile assault, with police saying they attacked two newspaper reporters.

The incident occurred on a street corner in Norfolk, Virginia. The two reporters, a man and a woman, were in their car, stopped at the intersection, when they came across what police described as a riot.

The man said he saw a large crowd, maybe 100 young people, gathered there. One of the crowd members then allegedly threw a rock at the car, he said. When he got out of the car to check out the situation, he was allegedly attacked, as was the woman. Neither reporter suffered serious injuries.

Police have arrested three 16 year olds and a 13 year old. One of the older teens was charged with a felony charge of throwing a missile at an occupied vehicle, along with two misdemeanor counts of destroying property, participating in a riot and taking part in an assault by mob, according to Norfolk police. That teen remains in custody.

The others were charged with assault by mob and taking part in a riot, which are both misdemeanors. The 13 year old and one of the older teens were released after an arraignment in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. The fourth teen will stay in police custody as he faces several other charges not related to this case, including grand larceny.

Their trial is scheduled for May 30.

At the arraignment, one of the teens vehemently pleaded his innocence, sobbing as he was led from the courtroom. The teen claimed not to have been at the intersection at the time of the incident. The lawyer for one of the other teenagers also has spoken publicly to proclaim his client's innocence.

A victim could identify the wrong person when many people are involved because of the confusion of the situation. If the teen was there, one could argue about teens easily getting swept up in the emotions of a frantic scene and making an honest mistake.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "4th youth charged in attack on reporters denies role," Sarah Hutchins, May 16, 2012

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