NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Two teens in a group charged with bullying a newcomer to their school who committed suicide last year, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to lesser charges in a deal expected to erase more serious allegations.
The deal was expected for all five Massachusetts teens criminally charged with bullying Phoebe Prince with insults, physical threats and aggressive use of Facebook and texting.
Months after Prince's death, Massachusetts in 2010 outlawed bullying in school and online, and mandated school-developed bullying prevention and intervention plans.
In separate court appearances in Hampshire Superior Court, Sean Mulveyhill and Kayla Narey, now both 18, each admitted to a misdemeanor charge of criminal harassment.
Each was sentenced to one year probation and 100 hours of community service.
In exchange, remaining charges including felony civil rights violations resulting in bodily harm were expected to be dropped.
The plea deal was approved by the Prince family, and in court Prince's mother, Anne O'Brien, spoke before Judge Jeffrey Kinder handed down the sentences.
"A dead weight has caused unbearable pain and torture," O'Brien tearfully said in reference to the loss of her 15-year-old daughter.
Narey, weeping during her statement to the judge, apologized to the Prince family and to Phoebe Prince herself for her actions and "unkind words."
The remaining three teens charged with bullying Prince -- Flannery Mullins, Sharon Velazquez and Ashley Longe -- were expected to make similar plea deals in court on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Prince, who had recently moved to Massachusetts from Ireland, hanged herself in a stairwell at her home in January 2010 after she was bullied by the teens at the high school in South Hadley, located 100 miles west of Boston.
Mulveyhill and another boy, Austin Renaud, now 19, both had relationships with Prince and were charged with statutory rape.
Renaud, who was not charged with bullying and does not appear to be included in the broader settlement, is next scheduled to appear in court on July 6.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times