Ex-Skyview student gets probation for group beating

2010-09-08T15:25:00Z 2010-09-22T08:27:54Z Ex-Skyview student gets probation for group beatingGREG TUTTLE Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
September 08, 2010 3:25 pm  • 

A 17-year-old former Skyview High student was sentenced Wednesday for an attack that left a classmate with serious injuries.

Zachary Lee Lindsey appeared before Judge Gregory Todd in Youth Court after he previously admitted to charges in the March 2 attack on Jeff Weis-Lakel. Todd sentenced Lindsey to probation until he turns 21 for a felony charge of assault with a weapon, two counts of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and a misdemeanor assault charge.

Todd also ordered Lindsey and four other teens charged with the attack on Weis-Lakel to jointly pay $12,390 in restitution. The judge warned the Lindsey that if he violates any conditions of probation, he could be sent to prison.

“You’re going to be on a short leash,” Todd said. “You can show by your actions if you’ve learned from this or not.”

Lindsey declined to make a statement at the hearing, but he told the judge in response to a question that he felt “worse for what I did” after Weis-Lakel’s testimony about the beating’s effects on him and his family.

“I’m scared for my life even living in the Heights,” Weis-Lakel said. “I did not deserve what happened to me whatsoever.”

Weis-Lakel said he suffered a concussion in the attack and continues to experience migraine headaches. He also developed a serious heart infection that his doctors said was related to the stress of the incident, he said.

Rose Lakel, his mother, also testified. She recalled how she made her way through a large crowd of people in her front yard to find her son bleeding.

“All of this makes me sick, to think he was at school with an animal like you,” Lakel said to Lindsey.

Lindsey told the judge he is attending Lincoln Center this year after receiving a long-term suspension from Skyview. A senior, Lindsey said he hopes to return to Skyview later this school year.

Lindsey is the second of five teenagers charged in the attack to be sentenced. In court records, prosecutors described Lindsey as the person who hit Weis-Lakel in the head with a metal object. The other four teens hit and kicked Weis-Lakel as a crowd of about 40 students watched.

The confrontation began earlier at school when Lindsey pushed and later head-butted Weis-Lakel. It moved to Weis-Lakel’s house on Ahoy Avenue after school when Lindsey and the crowd showed up.

Lakel said her son had repeatedly refused to fight Lindsey at school and he was attacked by a mob outside his own home.

Beau Riley Burton, 16, was sentenced last month to six months of probation for aggravated assault. Charges remain pending against Blake Bertolino, Cameron Ostermiller and Armando Gonzalez. All five teens were initially charged as adults in District Court, but the cases were later transferred to Youth Court.

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