It won't help heal Frank Burd's broken neck, but the second of two youths who attacked the 60-year-old teacher in a hallway of Germantown High School in February pleaded guilty to aggravated assault yesterday in Family Court.
Donte Boykin, 17, dressed in an institution-issued orange jumper and navy-blue sweatshirt, was asked by Judge Richard Gordon if he understood the charges against him.
He nodded and answered, "Yes," softly. He then was led down the courtroom's secure corridor to be taken back to the Youth Study Center, where he will remain until his sentencing on April 26.
Assistant District Attorney Leslie M. Gomez said after the proceedings that Boykin pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a first-degree felony.
James Footman, 15, who also participated in the attack, pleaded guilty at an earlier Family Court hearing to aggravated assault and conspiracy. It was unclear whether Boykin and Footman knew each other before the attack.
The charges stem from the Feb. 23 attack on Burd, a mathematics teacher.
Prosecutor Gomez allowed reporters to view the witness statement that she read to the court.
The witness said Burd had told the class that "if they have an iPod, to turn it down or off.
Burd started talking and Boykin turned his iPod back up."
After taking Boykin's iPod, "Donte stood up and told Mr. Burd, 'Let my iPod go before I sock you,' " the statement continued.
"Burd walked into the hall, and at least 31 students were in the hallway."
The witness went on to state that Boykin twice pushed Burd, the last time pushing him into Footman, who then "hit Mr. Burd in the face, and hit him again."
"Mr. Burd started to walk away and James hit him again before [Burd] fell. Donte and James both fled, leaving Mr. Burd face-down on the hallway floor."
Gomez said she assumed that Boykin would be sent to a residential facility that has a strong academic background, such as St. Gabriel's Hall in Audubon, Montgomery County.
Boykin had been accepted by two colleges before the attack.
Burd, meanwhile, had surgery at Einstein Medical Center, and started rehabilitation at the Moss Rehab Center.