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Final suspect in Derrion Albert beating death gets 32 years in prison

Cellphone Video Shot During Attack on Derrion Albert, Sept. 24, 2009 (My Fox Chicago)

2nd Person Convicted In Chicago Beating Death
Cellphone video shot during attack (My Fox Chicago)
(CBS/AP) CHICAGO -- The last suspect convicted in the 2009 videotaped beating death of Chicago honors student Derrion Albert was sentenced Monday to 32 years in prison. The ruling  ends a tragic case that symbolized the brutality of youth violence and sparked outrage around the country.

Lapoleon Colbert, 20, was convicted of first-degree murder in June for participating in the mob attack on the 16-year-old Albert. In addition to watching the beating, which was captured on a cellphone camera, a jury heard a recording of a police interrogation in which he admitted to kicking Albert in the head and stomping on him while he lay defenseless on the ground.

Before his sentencing, Colbert apologized to Albert's family and pleaded with the judge.

"This is my first offense, have mercy on me," Lapoleon said, standing to face Albert's family before sitting silently with his hands folded in front of him.

But Judge Nicholas Ford was not swayed. He previously had handed down prison sentences of 32 years to two other defendants convicted during separate trials and 26 years to a fourth who pleaded guilty. A fifth suspect tried as a juvenile was ordered to remain imprisoned until he turns 21.

"There is a growing tolerance of conduct that history would view as unconscionable," Ford said. People better "start understanding that there is a difference between right and wrong."

The September 2009 fight erupted near Fenger High School on the city's South Side where Albert and Colbert attended classes. In the video, Derrion's attackers are seen punching and kicking him, slamming him over the head with large boards and finally, stomping on his head.

The sight of Albert trying to defend himself against waves of attackers, staggering to his feet and then crashing to the street again as he was unable to cover his body from all the kicks and punches, prompted the Chicago police and school officials to promise dramatic improvements in security around schools. From Washington, President Barack Obama dispatched two top Cabinet officials to the city to discuss ways to quell the violence.

Albert's family has attended court hearing after court hearing in the case to make sure the story of the 16-year-old's life doesn't get lost - even though that meant having to watch the videotape of the beating numerous times.

Complete coverage of the Derrion Albert case on Crimesider


  • Crimesider Staff

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