4th teen charged in deadly Fenger beating

November 6, 2009 3:13:50 PM PST
A fourth suspect has been charged in the September beating death of Fenger High School honor student Derrion Albert. A 14-year-old appeared in juvenile court Friday on murder charges in connection with the case. This latest suspect is also the youngest to face charges.

The beating death of Derrion Albert brought national attention to the issue of deadly school violence in Chicago.

The teen is the fourth suspect arrested in connection with the fatal beating of a Chicago public school honor roll student, Derrion Albert. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, remains in custody and was not charged as an adult.

And while Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis praised those in the community for helping police make this latest arrest in the Fenger High School beating case, he is still concerned: too few are taking too long to "finger" others involved in the crime.

The mother of the latest suspect arrested in connection with the fatal beating of Derrion Albert hid her identity Friday as she left the court hearing for her son. Prosecutors say the 14-year-old boy is seen on videotape that first aired on WFLD throwing what they call a knockout punch during the attack. The child's attorney says his client has never been arrested before and denies the allegations.

"I don't know how accurate the videotape is, and another person was identified as being one of the offenders, so we don't know enough at this point," said Richard Kloak, suspect's attorney.

Supported by relatives, the teen -- whose name has not been released -- appeared before a juvenile court judge Friday morning and pleaded not guilty to three counts of first degree murder and one count of mob action for his alleged role in the September 24 slaying of the Fenger High School honor roll student.

Detectives say the former Fenger freshman was arrested Thursday night after he was identified by eyewitnesses at the brawl as hitting Albert with his fists. A teacher of the suspect also picked him out as one of the attackers because he allegedly wore the same clothes to class earlier that day.

Court records show the teen transferred to another school after the incident.

"He arrived last evening with his mother and attorney, and he did not make statements," said Commander Anthony Carothers, Chicago Police Department.

Three other teens have also been charged with Albert's murder which drew national attention to the rise in youth violence in Chicago. Charges were dropped against another teen after police determined he had been misidentified.

And while Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis remains pleased about the arrest of a fourth suspect, he says the community should do more to help police combat crime.

"The mayor calls it a code of silence and it literally is killing us," said Weis.

Police say their investigation is still ongoing and to expect more arrests. Superintendent Weis says detectives are looking for three other people he calls "main offenders" who were involved in the fatal beating.

The latest suspect is due back in court next month.


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