NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two 12-year-old boys accused of using a shopping cart as a weapon were in court Friday afternoon. One of them pleaded guilty to an assault charge.
The boys are accused of critically injuring Marion Salmon Hedges by tossing the cart from the fourth-floor walkway outside the Target store in Harlem on Oct. 30. According to the District Attorney, Hedges is still in serious physical condition.
One of the accused, identified as “Jeovanni R,” who turns 13 on Saturday, pleaded guilty to assault. He spoke in court, explaining his actions to the family court judge.
“I helped throw a cart over. I knew there were people down there. And they could get hurt,” he said.
Shahabuddeen Ally, the boy’s lawyer, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty with the hope of probation.
“Our goal is to get him back into the community. With probation, there’s a wealth of services that can [be offered] to the youngester and more importantly to his family to make him a positive member of society again,” Ally told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
Ally went on to say that his client had done the “responsible thing” and “took ownership of his actions in this case.”
The other boy had his case adjourned until next Wednesday at his attorney’s request. Both boys are being held in juvenile facilities.
The suspects are being charged as juveniles and face reckless endangerment and depraved indifference charges in addition to assault.
Rosemary Rosario, the mother of one of the two boys accused in the incident, delivered a tearful apology on behalf of her son back at the beginning of the month.
“It’s a terrible thing and I hope she recuperates. I really, really, really feel for her and her children,” an emotional Rosario said, adding that her son was “really sorry.”
Hedges also said his family hopes the boys get help.
“They’re not adults. They’re children, and children who have been left on their own without supervision,” he told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey in an exclusive interview.
The railing the shopping cart went over was just 3 ½-feet tall.
Days after the incident, Councilman James Vacca told CBS 2’s Hennessey that instead of private walkways having short railings on either side, future walkways should have 8-foot high fencing, the same height you see on any city- or state-owned walkway.
“The reality is we can’t sit here and do nothing,” Vacca said. “If a private developer does not want to make these structures safe by having fencing, then he’s not going to get a permit from the City of New York.”
“If this fencing was up [at the time of the incident], this could not have happened,” Vacca said.
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