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Youth Sentenced in Beating Death of Transient in Burbank Park

Times Staff Writer

A 17-year-old boy was sentenced Wednesday to California Youth Authority custody for his role in beatings in a Burbank park in which one transient was killed and another was severely injured.

Pasadena Juvenile Court Judge Carol J. Fieldhouse sentenced the Burbank teen-ager to 16 years to life in custody. But because he was prosecuted as a juvenile, the youth must be released on or before his 25th birthday.

The teen-ager pleaded guilty in September to second-degree murder and assault with intent to do great bodily injury.

A second defendant, a 16-year-old boy, pleaded guilty Nov. 25 to second-degree murder and two counts of assault with intent to do great bodily injury. The younger boy was prosecuted as an adult and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 23 in Pasadena Superior Court.

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The victims of the beating in McCambridge Park were transient John M. Simpson, 33, who died in Burbank Community Hospital about two weeks later, and William L. Stahl, 44, who remains hospitalized in St. Joseph Medical Center’s extended-care facility, prosecutors said.

The boy sentenced Wednesday was “the lesser-involved one” in the park attack, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Sharon Garabedian said.

When Fieldhouse ruled in September that the 17-year-old should not face trial as an adult, he said he believed the younger boy had knowledge of martial arts and was responsible for “the lion’s share of the aggression.”

Prosecutors have said the attack was motivated by a desire for revenge against the transients, who the boys allegedly believed had attacked a girlfriend of the older boy’s brother.

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The two teen-agers were arrested a day after the attack after witnesses described the assailants to a police artist, authorities said. Police took the sketches door to door in neighborhoods surrounding the park until the youths were identified.


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