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Teen Pleads Guilty In 2014 Fatal Group Home Beating

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A teenager has pleaded guilty in the fatal assault of a resident at a group home in Carrick.

Yusuf Shepard, 17, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count each of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and conspiracy.

The incident happened at the Circle C Group Home in January of 2014. Nicholas Grant, 16, was found unresponsive after being beaten with a vacuum cleaner hose.

According to police, the incident started with a verbal argument that escalated into Shepard and another teen, Malik Crosby, punching Grant.

Police say Grant threw a vacuum cleaner at Shepard and Crosby and that's when Shepard is accused of putting Grant into a choke-hold and Crosby allegedly started hitting Grant with the vacuum cleaner.

Grant was put on life-support, but died in the hospital three days later.

Shepard's mother offered an apology to Grant's mother.

"Losing a kid. I apologize. Because her child, regardless of what kind of child he is, that's her child. She birthed, she nurtured, no matter what we go through with our children -- a mother's love," Tiffany Colton, Shepard's mother, said. "I apologize she had to go through this."

Shepard's attorney, Almon Burke, told the court his client is "deeply remorseful."

"He never intended for this result to happen. He wasn't trying to kill Nicholas Grant," said Burke. "There was a fight that ensued and everybody describes the bar around the neck as a choke-hold. We were trying to describe it as a restraining hold because he was telling Nicholas Grant that if you stop trying to hurt me I will let you go."

Shepard will serve five to 10 years in prison. Following the prison sentence, he will also serve years probation.

Crosby's trial date is set for April 3, 2017.

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