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Boy, 15, Sentenced to Youth Authority in Shooting

Rejecting defense pleas for psychotherapy rather than incarceration, a judge Monday sentenced a 15-year-old Sylmar boy to the California Youth Authority for the attempted murder of another teen-ager, who was shot in front of Chatsworth High School for refusing to give up his backpack.

In imposing the sentence, San Fernando Valley Juvenile Court Judge Morton Rochman rejected arguments by Deputy Public Defender Albert M. Meister that the boy’s actions stemmed from depression and substance abuse.

“CYA appears to be the best recommendation for rehabilitation,” Rochman said, accepting the recommendation of both the Probation Department and Deputy Dist. Atty. Bernadette de Barajas. “The minor must be held accountable for his actions.”

Rochman called the Dec. 15 shooting and robbing of Gabriel Gettleson, 17, a “cowardly, senseless and wanton attack.” The teen-ager was attacked as he waited outside school for his mother to take him to a part-time job.

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Minors are sentenced to the youth authority for an unspecified term. However they cannot be held past their 25th birthday.

Before sentencing, psychologist Ronald Fairbanks testified that the defendant was suffering from depression and a substance abuse problem. He said the boy has been taking Prozac, an anti-depressant drug, since February, two months after his arrest.

During the trial, Los Angeles Police Detective Kenneth Crocker testified that the teen-ager confessed to shooting Gettleson and to robbing two other teen-agers, one in front of Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley and the other immediately before confronting Gettleson.

Crocker said the defendant told police that after he and his friends could not find a rival “tagging crew,” they decided to start “taxing fools,” which the teen-ager said meant robbing people.

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