Ethan, who is white, was reportedly beaten to death near basketball courts of NBA star and political activist LeBron James’ I PROMISE School in Akron on June 2. Donovon Jones, 21; Tyler Stafford, 19; and Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20, were arrested in connection to the boy’s death.
A Summit County grand jury indicted Jones on two counts of assault, Tyler Stafford on involuntary manslaughter and assault, and Deshawn Stafford on two counts of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and assault, according to News 5 Cleveland.
Tyler Stafford is potentially facing nine months to three years in prison, while Deshawn Stafford could face up to 11 years in prison for the F-1 involuntary manslaughter charge, the report said, adding that Jones’ charges are misdemeanors.
Chief counsel for the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, Brad Gessner, reportedly said the grand jury weighed charges that included murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless homicide.
“Our office presented the facts of the case and the facts of the case added additional information than what is generally known by the public, and we believe those facts impacted the decision of the grand jury,” Gessner said.
“Our family is both devastated and disgusted,” Bill Liming, Ethan’s father, told News 5 Cleveland.
“On behalf of our family, we are grieving,” a statement from Mr. Liming said. “We are a beautifully multi-cultural family with white, African American, and Filipino family members who share the vision of strength by coming together rather than pulling apart everything we hold dear at the seams. Rather than become bitter, we are choosing to fall back on our faith.”
“We have always taught all of our children to love everyone,” he continued. “We will continue that lesson knowing full well that not everyone in the world we live in feels the same. Our family will continue to let faith guide us through these unbelievable times and we will pay better attention to our surroundings and where we go.”
“This summer has been a horrific summer of violence and tragedy here in Akron,” the father said. “Our family is not the only ones who have had to suffer. We know that every situation is different but we also recognize a common grief that our family shares with so many other families whose loved ones have been taken from them, both young and old. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the families who are struggling in their grief just as we are struggling beside them with ours.”
“Love will win,” Mr. Liming concluded the statement. “Of that, I am certain — not politics, not division, but love. And so by love our family will find a way. That is who we are.”
Mr. Liming told News 5 Cleveland last month that his son’s two friends, who are black, tried to rescue the 17-year-old while he was still breathing, but were chased, and said one was assaulted by the perpetrators, who then “finished my son off.”
“It’s been said that they abandoned Ethan and it’s not true,” he recalled. “They did everything they possibly could to help Ethan. They called 911 to get help. And when Ethan was knocked out on the ground, his two African American friends tried to pick up his body and put them in the car, to help save his life. He was still alive at that point. He was still breathing.”
Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett almost immediately dismissed questions about hate crime charges, saying investigators found no evidence of such a crime.