Four Teens Accused In Murder of Las Vegas Student Plead Not Guilty

Posted on: January 25, 2024, 07:27h. 

Last updated on: January 27, 2024, 11:12h.

Almost half of the teenagers who allegedly beat and stomped on a defenseless 17-year-old Las Vegas boy entered not guilty pleas on Thursday. They are accused of killing Jonathan Lewis. The teen was brutally attacked in an alley near Rancho High School on Nov. 1, 2023.

Four teenagers appear in court on murder charges
Four teenagers appear in court on murder charges. Each pleaded not guilty. (Image: KVVU)

Cases against four of the nine young defendants will head to trial, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS. The defendants are Damien Hernandez, 18, Dontral Beaver, 16, Gianni Robinson, 17, and Treavion Randolph, 16. Each is charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy after a jury handed down indictments last week.

On Thursday, Clark County District Judge Tierra Jones scheduled April 1 as the trial date for Beaver and Robinson. Trial dates have yet to be set for Randolph and Hernandez.

Lawyers representing the accused teens claim they were acting in self-defense. Lewis hurled the first punch, which started the brawl, and another boy who sided with Lewis had a knife in his possession, the defendants’ legal team maintains.

There are five other juveniles also facing charges in the killing. Prosecutors want them tried as adults. A 10th suspect has yet to be arrested.

Fight Started Over Headphones

The fatal beating began over stolen wireless headphones and possibly a vape pen, according to KLAS. A mob of teens stole the items from a younger kid and threw them into a trash can, USA Today reported.

A person contacted 911 after the boy suffered severe head injuries, and a school nurse tried to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him.

There is bleeding on his head, he has a bump on his head and [he was] scratched on his elbows,” the caller told authorities. “He’s bleeding from his nose, and his face is turning blue.”

Lewis was rushed to University Medical Center, where he was placed on life support. He died a week after the attack. An autopsy by the Clark County coroner’s office revealed Lewis died from blunt-force trauma, which led to his death being ruled a homicide.

Lewis chose to defend his smaller friend and soon was attacked.

Victim Was a Hero

The victim’s father, Jonathan Lewis Sr., told USA Today, “Jonathan just wanted to protect his friend. He’s a hero.”

We all must be held accountable for our choices,” Lewis Sr. said in a statement to KLAS. “Actually recognizing why, at this age, our children chose violence, the root cause, the terror of constant resource conflict and dependence on a broken system and actually building our own self-regulated wealth and health is a huge part of justice for me as a father too.”

An online GoFundMe fundraiser for the victim and his family has currently raised $136,505.