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Mother denies beaten teen was part of gang

Judge overturns suspect's release

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Last week, Taanja Reese said her 16-year-old son wasn't angry at the boys who beat him mercilessly March 1 in what police say was a random, gang-related attack.



"He is now," she said Friday after their arraignments in Richmond County Juvenile Court.

In an ensuing detention hearing for one of the accused teens, defense attorney Brendan Fleming told Judge Willie Saunders that he has evidence that the victim, Butler High School honor roll student Terence Reese, is in a gang, too.

"My son despises gangs," Reese said. "Even gang members at his school know he's not in a gang."

Though the arraignment was for all five teenagers charged with the assault on Reese, the subject of 15-year-old Ross Nipple's release Monday and his ties to the Bloods gang dominated the proceedings. Assistant District Attorney Natalie Spires also announced that the DA's office wants to try all five as adults in Superior Court.

Nipple's arrest March 10 was the latest in a series of actions by authorities after the attack on Circular Drive. During a more subdued detention hearing in the courtroom four days earlier, the teen was released to his parents under house arrest until an April hearing.

But on Friday, representatives from the district attorney's office argued forcefully that Nipple should never have been let go, and Saunders agreed, albeit reluctantly. The judge overruled the decision by Judge Ben Allen and ordered the teen detained.

Spires said Allen was not given enough information about the violent nature of the attack because the DA's office wasn't present at Nipple's first hearing. If it had been, she argued, Nipple would not be free while the other four teens were locked up.

"Perhaps Judge Allen was not aware of the physical damage to this victim," Spires said.

The arraignment was a precursor to a hearing scheduled for April 16 that will determine whether the teens are tried as adults.

Spires called the attack violent and heinous, done with "no regard for human life." Investigator Sean Cochran testified that the five teens wanted to "lock down the block," vowing to assault the first person who came into their territory. They found Terence, who was walking his girlfriend home from school.

"This is not a juvenile crime," Spires said. "This is an adult crime, and this is a crime that warrants detention."

Reese said her son's jaw remains wired shut with titanium plates in his mouth. He suffered broken bones in his face, and he caught a cold in the hospital and later developed pneumonia. She's said he's going back to his oral surgeon Monday, possibly for another surgery.

Terence didn't want to go to court Friday, she said, but they decided seeing his attackers would be an important step in coping with what happened. They were both shocked when Fleming made the statement about her son being a gang member.

"My son's face turned blood red," Reese said. "I was just flabbergasted."

ALSO AT ISSUE FRIDAY was a call made to Terence's cell phone earlier this week by Nipple's mother, Vanessa Richards, which Spires said violated Allen's stipulation that Nipple have no contact with the victim. Saunders said that though that did violate the order, he was reluctant to punish the teen for something his mother did.

After the hearing, Richards said she called the Reeses on the advice of her pastor, Sullivan Bush of City of Refuge Christian Center in Hephzibah. She said she wanted her son to apologize to Terence's mother. She said she had no idea that would violate Allen's order.

Richards said she never saw any signs that her son was in a gang. She couldn't explain why he would have told police he's a Bloods member.

According to Cochran's testimony, Nipple gave investigators "pertinent information" about how the gang is organized, its signs and symbols and who its leaders are. He also said that because he was in a larger gang it was OK for him to hang out with smaller neighborhood groups. Investigators have said the other four claimed to be Apple Valley Posse members.

Richards said the truth will come out about her son's involvement, one way or another.

"All things work together for the good," she said, quoting the Book of Romans.

Bush, who testified to Nipple's good character, said he would be shocked if the teen is a gang member. He said his church has been trying to keep teens out of gangs, something that comes from associating with the wrong people.

"It needs to be stamped out," he said. "We've just got to work together to help turn our youth around."

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Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 03/20/10 - 05:39 am
0
0
By all accounts both media

By all accounts both media and direct, Reese is an honor student and very respectful and well behaived young man whereas the others involved here have a history of bad behavior, even if not an actual legal record. They attacked their victim physically but to attack his character at a time when he literally can not speak up for himself, due to the injuries they caused, is a rediculous low, even for an attorney.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 03/20/10 - 06:11 am
0
0
Once again, I have proved my

Once again, I have proved my point. While we are watching neighborhoods for gang activity, we also need to be mindful of corruption and unjust in the juvenile justice system. I previously made a comment that DJJ will do whatever it takes to keep even violent juveniles out of jail or the YDC. It is a shame that they would lie on a victim like that after what he has already been through. But it happens all the time.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 03/22/10 - 06:46 pm
0
0
.

.

corgimom
36307
Points
corgimom 03/20/10 - 06:23 am
0
0
"Richards said she never saw

"Richards said she never saw any signs that her son was in a gang. She couldn't explain why he would have told police he's a Bloods member."

He told police he was a Bloods member because he IS a Bloods member.

mystery30815
18
Points
mystery30815 03/20/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
You would be shocked how many

You would be shocked how many parents have no clue their child is in a gang. I've heard them tell me their parents don't havea clue. Around their parents they play the "role". Perfect little yes ma'am no ma'am children. They keep their grades up or at least decent enough to keep their parents off their back. When you try to tell the parents they don't believe you.

isaidit
0
Points
isaidit 03/20/10 - 08:26 am
0
0
How can she see ANY signs

How can she see ANY signs when the young man is rarely supervised. Parents wake up, it's easy to lie when a kid know's there's no follow-up on your part. If you want to keep a kid honest, then let them know that what they tell you will be checked out "for your peace of mind". You can't be lazy and raise children! They will eventually get into trouble, and there you are....running to their defense and end up shocked, in tears, embarassed with pie on your face. You have to go behind your child to be sure they're doing what they're supposed to. I feel in her heart of hearts she wanted to believe he was the good kid she use to rock to sleep and sing to, but unfortunately as her employment and marital situation changed, no tracking system was set up with neighbors and family members who can/will keep a close watch when you're not able. You need eyes and ears everywhere they go, they wont like it, but will thank you later for keeping them on a path that avoided irresponsible behavior, gangs, drugs, and with that, the inevietable criminal record or worse.....prison. My two (2) cents. My prayers are with you ma'am.

butler123
1
Points
butler123 03/20/10 - 08:33 am
0
0
Perhaps Judge Allen isn't

Perhaps Judge Allen isn't aware of the physical damage to this victim? Has he been living in a cave?

curly123053
5118
Points
curly123053 03/20/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
Lawyers now a days try to put

Lawyers now a days try to put the victims of crimes on trial to support their clients. Fleming is just another lawyer who uses cheap tactics. I think the evidence we have seen shows how low and what kind of a person Fleming is.

da-realist
8
Points
da-realist 03/20/10 - 09:54 am
0
0
@curly, never thought i would

@curly, never thought i would agree with anything you have to say, but your right on point. I've workded in the DJJ system and its a joke, inmates have more rights than the officers. They destroy state property without consequence, play video games all day and eat very good. Mr Norman , the director , is a joke.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 03/20/10 - 01:13 pm
0
0
I believe there needs to be

I believe there needs to be an investigation done into the way in which the JJ system handles their cases. This is not the first case and won't be the last.

devgru1
0
Points
devgru1 03/20/10 - 08:17 pm
0
0
Whether he was in a gang or

Whether he was in a gang or not doesn't justify this crime. As for the judges, they need to be in the same place as the criminals should be. They are people who aren't sure what is right and wrong in today's society and have no clue of what to do. Obviously.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 03/20/10 - 09:00 pm
0
0
(Nipple's mother, Vanessa

(Nipple's mother, Vanessa Richards) Where, or who is his father?

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 03/20/10 - 09:10 pm
0
0
Bush, who testified to

Bush, who testified to Nipple's good character...........

Give me a break, what rock have you been living under. People with

good character don't commit these heinous crimes. Maybe Brendan

Fleming and the Rev. need to get under that rock together. The

worthless fathers out there and the (my son can do no wrong)

mothers need to invest in some contraception. This world can do

without your offspring, and your parenting skills.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/20/10 - 11:50 pm
0
0
.

.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/20/10 - 11:50 pm
0
0
.

.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/20/10 - 11:49 pm
0
0
Hey, they have to have

Hey, they have to have someone to blame it on. They have to justify their criminal behavior somehow. I mean you don't seriously expect any of them to take responsibility for their own actions do you? Another reason we need sterilization, to keep people like this from reproducing and raising more little criminals!

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 03/24/10 - 10:58 am
0
0
Parents are in denial. Not my

Parents are in denial. Not my son/daughter! Dont believe a word that come outta their mouths and you will be on the right track. Believing in your child is a terrible WEAKNESS. Know where your children are every second. Tape their phone calls if necessary. INVADE their PRIVACY. Sorry this is the way it has to be, its a new world.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 03/25/10 - 07:30 am
0
0
let's try this again...only

let's try this again...only this time "politically correct" so i don't offend or hurt the feelings of the person(s) who feel as though the offender has been wronged by the system. mr. nipple is a worthless waste of a human being who needs to be locked up for a very long time, it's time that jail become just that JAIL, for punishment and not an "experiment in social engeneering to turn around our wayward youths" that is the responsibility of the parent(s) not society. we should be rewarding children who do what is right and PUNISH THOSE WHO DON'T...it's not about saving the world, because there are those both young and old who just don't want to do right and that's what jails/prisons are for. but in this "politically correct society" there will all types of efforts made to protray mr. nipple as a youth worthy of saving and that he has redeemable qualities if only we just "reach out to him, and understand his rage brought on by the ravages of slavery". when what we should be done is put him in jail until he and all those like him young and old are no longer a threat to society.

DMac_357
1
Points
DMac_357 03/26/10 - 12:59 pm
0
0
To me, it doesn't matter

To me, it doesn't matter whether the victim was in a gang or not. A crime was committed and the defendants should have to answer for their crimes. Are we saying that if the victim was in a gang, we should turn a blind eye to this violent act? I don't think so. If the victim is in a gang, if he breaks the law, he should be punished. Either way, when you commit a crime, you have to do the time.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 05/13/10 - 07:52 am
0
0
After reading about this

After reading about this hearing --- Brendan Fleming is a slime-ball. You are disgusting. I don't see where your "proof" was ever shown. Crawl back under your rock. That was low, even for a defense lawyer. Slime.

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