CHICAGO — A Chicago teenager who pleaded guilty Friday to participating in the beating death of a high school honor student that was caught on video was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Eric Carson, 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2009 death of 15-year-old Derrion Albert. Carson, who was 16 at the time. Carson was captured on videotape hitting Albert in the back of the head with a large board. The video shows that after collapsing, Albert was beaten and stomped by several other teens.
Carson is the third person convicted in connection with the September 2009 attack. A 15-year-old, who was tried as a juvenile, was convicted in December of first-degree murder in Albert's death and sentenced to a juvenile detention center until his 21st birthday.
Silvonus Shannon, 20, was convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder and faces a sentence of up to 60 years in prison when he returns to court Feb. 14. Two others, Eugene Riley and Lapoleon Colbert, still face charges in the attack that drew international attention when the video of the street brawl was posted online.
Assistant Public Defender Lorne Gorelick, who represented Carson, said he and his client sat down with prosecutors to discuss a plea deal in early January. Under the agreement, Carson must serve 100 percent of his sentence. He will receive credit for the nearly 18 months he was being held in Cook County Jail awaiting trial.
The Chicago Tribune reports Carson wept as he said goodbye to his family after the sentence. As he used his khaki, jail-issued shirt to wipe tears from his face, Judge Nicholas Ford wished Carson luck.
Dozens of relatives and friends of Carson crowded the courtroom. Several cried loudly as the hearing came to a close, and others shouted "No!" while one woman yelled, "26 years? That's crazy!"
Members of Albert's family also attended the hearing. However, they left before the emotional outbursts. Both families refused to comment afterward.
The attack on Albert marked the most vivid example of the violence that in a six-month period of 2009 claimed the lives of more than 20 Chicago public school students. It also prompted President Barack Obama to dispatch top Cabinet officials to Chicago to discuss ways to quell the violence.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com