Four of Nine Las Vegas Teens Arrested in the ‘Extremely Disturbing’ Beating Death of Schoolmate, 17, Are Charged as Adults With Murder
A video of the beating, that was used to identify nine of the perpetrators, is ‘void of humanity,’ according to police.
In a teen-on-teen killing that has shocked Las Vegas, four teenagers have been charged as adults in the beating death of 17-year-old Jonathan Lewis, who was set upon by ten boys in what police say was a fight over headphones and a vape pen.
Police have arrested nine of the ten boys believed to have been involved in the fight. The four boys ages 16 or older – Dontral Beaver, 16, Damien Hernandez, 17, Gianni Robinson, 17, and Treavion Randolph, 16 – have been charged as adults with second degree murder.
The five boys younger than 16 have yet to be charged. Las Vegas detectives, who are being aided by the FBI in their investigation, are still trying to identify the tenth boy in the beating, which was caught on video.
The video is “extremely disturbing” and “void of humanity,” according to police.
Lewis Jr. died several days after enduring brain injuries caused by the brutal attack outside of Rancho High School on November 1.
“[The Lewis] family was shattered, and all the other families and their lives have been shattered as well,” Clark County’s district attorney, Steve Wolfson, said. “So it’s a sad day that all this happened. But at the end of the day, I believe there have to be consequences.”
According to Lewis Jr.’s father, his son was attacked after he tried to help a smaller boy who was thrown into a trash can after something was stolen from him by a group of schoolmates.
“Jonathan just wanted to protect his friend,” his father, Jonathan Lewis Sr., told USA TODAY. “He’s a hero.”
Police say the stolen items in question were headphones and a vape pen.
At a press conference after Lewis Jr. died, Lieutenant Jason Johansson of the Las Vegas Police Department was asked if the boys accused of being involved in the killing would be charged with a hate crime. Lewis Jr. was white while many of his attackers are black.
Lieutenant Johansson said that so far, there was no evidence race was a factor in the killing. “It is a murder, which in my opinion is a very heinous crime in and of itself,” he said.
Mr. Lewis Sr., the victim’s father, also alleges the teens involved in the beating have also taken part in other concerning incidents.
“This is not a one-off, no. We know that there was another incident the Tuesday before that with these exact kids,” Mr. Lewis Sr. said, adding he couldn’t disclose specifics for the safety of others.
Police relied on a video of the attack that circulated social media to identify the culprits behind Lewis Jr.’s death. But the family of Treavon Randolph, who’s been charged with the murder, say they don’t see him in the video.
“We all looked for him [in the video] because, as you see, he has an enormous amount of hair,” Mr. Randolph’s step-grandmother, Andrea Corsey, 55, said. “So, when you don’t see that, it’s like, how did they specifically identify him? It’s very difficult to say.”
His step-grandmother even says Mr. Randolph has never been known as a troublemaker.
“Everybody is devastated by what they say he’s done,” she said. “I can’t understand it. He’s never been any trouble. He comes here for birthdays and holidays. It’s a very sad situation.”
The five youths under 16 who’ve been arrested for the murder have yet to be charged as they’re entitled to a “certification hearing” where a family court judge decides if they will be transferred to adult court. A child as young as 13 can be charged as an adult in Nevada.
No matter what unfolds with future charges, trials and sentencings, Mr. Lewis Sr. is still left trying to navigate life without his son – a boy who loved hip-hop music and aspired to be “an artist of some kind.” A boy whose father was hoping to teach him how to paint with acrylics. A boy who was just “about to start a whole new life” after a potential move to Austin, Texas, with his father.
“I’m still in shock,” Mr. Lewis Sr. previously told USA TODAY. “I’m going to probably spend the rest of my life just trying to do something about it now because… I just lost my boy.”
One thing the father says he might do is start a foundation in honor of his son called Team Jonathan. He hopes the organization could be used to address youth violence and offer after-school and mentorship programs, particularly for children who come from unstable home lives.
“Justice, to me, is not just these kids going to prison,” he said. “I’m not going to feel like I have justice for my son until things change in society.”