Originally created 03/15/04

Trial for two teens in student death begins Monday



BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Two teens are scheduled to stand trial Monday on involuntary manslaughter charges nearly two years after authorities say a middle school classmate was beaten to death.

The boys, who were 13 and 14 at the time, are accused of punching Francisco Belman in the chest six times in a bathroom at H.E. McCracken Middle School in 2002. Belman, 14, collapsed on the floor and had a heart attack. He spent several weeks in a Charleston hospital and died in his parents' home June 10, 2002.

The boys, now 15 and 16, have not been identified because of their ages. They also are charged with second-degree lynching.

The lynching charges were filed before Belman died. The boys will be tried at the same time and if convicted, could be sentenced to the state Department Juvenile Justice facility until they turn 21.

Information from: The Island Packet, http://www.islandpacket.com