The 10th grader injured in the attack opened the testimony for the prosecution before Judge Louis F. Hornstine in Superior Court's Family Divison. The youth, whose name is being withheld by prosecutors, said he had left the bus early Jan. 10 and entered school before the start of classes. When he walked down a hallway, he testified, Arnaldo Medina, who was 16, held a nail file to his throat for no apparent reason.
"I was scared," the youth said. "I went crazy."
He said he had pushed Medina against a wall and begun hitting him. At that point, he said, Medina's friends joined in. One pulled him down, and the others started kicking and punching him until he blacked out, he said. Medina was one of the four who pleaded guilty.
The youth was taken to the hospital, where injuries to his mouth were stitched, he said. His face was swollen, his eyes were black and blue, his head was bruised from a mild concussion, and he had blood in his urine. He still is bothered by back pain and headaches that force him to take aspirin virtually every day, he said.
The youth could identify only two of his attackers.
Most of the six witnesses who testified could do little better. Some said they had seen little more than a mass of people straining to glimpse the fight. One witness said the defendant had kicked the youth as the victim lay on the ground. Another said he had seen the defendant hold the youth down with his foot but not kick him.
Fisher said the defendant had joined the fight with an uppercut punch to the youth's face and a kick to his ribs.
Rashaan Taylor, who pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, testified that as he ran to kick the prostrate youth on the chin, he didn't see the defendant do anything.
Several witnesses were caught in contradictions.
Medina opened his testimony by saying he hadn't used a nail file during the fight. When confronted with his statement, given earlier in court, that he did have the nail file, he retracted. A few minutes later, he testified again that he had not had the nail file.
Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Brendan January's e-mail address is email@example.com.