A sentence was handed out Monday to the final suspect in the violent beating death of 16-year-old honor student Derrion Albert.
Lapoleon Colbert, 20, received 32 years in prison for the first-degree murder conviction. Police tapes played during the trial revealed that Colbert admitted to taking part in the infamous beating, kicking Albert in the head and stomping on him while he lay on the ground.
Colbert appeared in front of Circuit Judge Nicholas Ford, who sentenced three other suspects to at least a quarter-century as adults and ordered one suspect, as a juvenile, to remain imprisoned until he turned 21 for the death of Albert.
"We don't do a good job raising these children," the judge said, his voice rising to a shout, according to the Chicago Tribune. "They can slip away from us just as Lapoleon is going to slip away from his parents, and the way Derrion slipped from his.”
“This is my first offense, have mercy on me,” Lapoleon said in court, standing to face the family.
Ford ignored the pleas of Colbert and his attorney, who asked the judge to impose the minimum sentence of 20 years given that this was Colbert’s first arrest and he had grown up in "one of the worst neighborhoods in the country.”
Albert was attacked by a group of young people in 2009 while walking home from school on Chicago’s South Side. The attack was the result of a feud between students from a neighborhood near Albert’s school and those from a nearby public housing complex who transferred to Albert’s school after their old high school closed. He was bombarded by kicks, punches and hit in the head with a wooden plank in an attack that was caught on video and sent shockwaves through the nation.
Albert’s death prompted heightened security around Chicago schools and President Barack Obama sent top Cabinet officials to assist the city in developing strategies to end teen violence.