Verdict Delivered In Death Of Ethan Liming, Teen Beaten To Death Outside I PROMISE School
Akron Public Schools, U.S. Marshals

Defendants in the beating death of 17-year-old Ethan Liming have so far evaded any manslaughter charges, a jury decided Monday.

Deshawn Stafford Jr., 21, and his brother Tyler Stafford, 20, were both found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Liming’s death.

Deshawn was found guilty of aggravated assault and assault and a mistrial was declared on a count 1 charge of involuntary manslaughter. Tyler was found guilty of assault and not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Liming was beaten near basketball courts of NBA star and political activist LeBron James’ I PROMISE School in Akron, Ohio, on June 2, 2022. Liming and his friends were playing with SplatRBall water pellet guns before the altercation and the boy’s death.

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office found that the teen’s death was caused by blunt force head injuries and the death was ruled a homicide.

Bill Liming, Ethan’s father, said last year that his son was trying to defuse an altercation before he was beaten to death, adding that his son’s two friends, who are black, tried to rescue Ethan while he was still breathing, but were chased and assaulted by the perpetrators, who then “finished my son off,” according to News 5 Cleveland.

“Teenagers were being teenagers, and I don’t want to say too much about the investigation,” Mr. Liming recalled to the news outlet. “But apparently, some of his friends who were with him were fooling around in the parking lot, and some other people didn’t like it, and they went running back to Ethan’s car where he and his other friend were.”

“Ethan still thought it was horseplay when he got out of the car and was trying to tell people, ‘It’s relaxed. It’s just a joke. It’s a joke,’” he continued. “And the individuals didn’t like that.”

“One individual attacked him,” he said. “Ethan still tried to tell them it’s just a joke. And then another individual came up behind them, struck him in the head.”

“He was fighting back for his life,” Mr. Liming added. “The detective told me that, ‘Your son fought for his life.’ It was not over like it was like a single punch, he fell down and hit his head. That’s not what happened … he was fighting for his life. And then a third individual came up behind him and they overwhelmed them and they knocked him out on the ground.”

The Stafford brothers initially faced murder charges, however, a grand jury in Summit County issued new, lesser charges.

A third male, Donovon Jones, 22, was arrested last year for his involvement in the death. He had previously pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor assault and was given a suspended sentence of 180 days, according to WKWC.

Sentencing for the Stafford brothers has been set for October 26.

Related: Father Of Fatally Beaten Ohio Teen Ethan Liming Says Narrative Surrounding Attack False, Provides New Details

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