Teen pleads not guilty to assault charge

2010-03-22T12:08:00Z Teen pleads not guilty to assault chargeGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
March 22, 2010 12:08 pm  • 

A Skyview High student charged with felony assault with a weapon for his role in a large fight that sent another teen to the hospital pleaded not guilty in District Court on Monday.

Zachary Lee Lindsey, who is being charged as an adult, was arraigned before Judge Gregory R. Todd. His parents appeared with Lindsey in court.

He is accused of threatening a fellow Skyview student with a tire iron, and then using another object to strike the 17-year-old victim repeatedly.

The incident, which took place after school on March 2, involved a large group of teenagers. According to court filings, a number of the other teens also kicked, punched and stomped on the victim, who was taken to the hospital with head injuries.

Five other students were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault after the fight.

Rose Lakel, the victim's mother, said her son is expected to return to school in about a week after doctors give him permission. She said that, in the beginning of the school year, some of the same teens involved in the March beating had chased her son and his friends with baseball bats, and she has heard that they continue to harass some students.

Although she understands that most people who seek a plea agreement start out by pleading not guilty to charges, Lakel said it was disappointing to hear Lindsey proclaim his innocence in court on Monday.

"There should be a sense of accountability where you show up and you're responsible for your actions," she said.

According to charging documents, Lakel's son became a target after he tried to protect another teen who was being bullied by Lindsey earlier in the day. School video surveillance later captured Lindsey shoving and head-butting the victim on the same day that the larger fight took place.

The student resource officer at the school then served Lindsey with a notice to appear in court after the incident and released him to his grandmother, records state.

After school let out that day, Lindsey and a large group reported to include as many as 40 teens gathered in Walsh Park before heading to the victim's house and beating him unconscious, according to court filings.

Skyview High Principal Bob Whalen said five students were suspended after they were accused of participating in the incident; all of them but Lindsey have returned to school.

Whalen said he does not expect future problems between the teens.

"I think it was unfortunate, and I think emotions got out of control ... but I think we're over that hump now," Whalen said.

A transfer hearing to determine whether Lindsey's case should remain in District Court or be transferred back to Youth Court has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on April 7.


INITIAL REPORT: A Skyview High student charged with felony assault with a weapon for his role in a large fight that sent another teen to the hospital pleaded not guilty in District Court today.

Zachary Lee Lindsey was arraigned before Judge Gregory R. Todd. His parents appeared with him in court.

Lindsey is accused of threatening a fellow Skyview student with a tire iron, and then using another object to strike the 17-year-old victim repeatedly.

The incident, which took place after school hours on March 2, involved a large group of teenagers. According to court filings, a number of the other teens also kicked, punched and stomped on the victim, who was taken to the hospital with head injuries.

Lindsey, who is being charged as an adult, is suspended from the high school. A transfer hearing to determine whether the case should continue to be heard in District Court has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on April 7.

According to police, five other students were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault after the fight.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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