Two teenagers pleaded guilty in juvenile court Thursday to their role in the beating of a Dundalk man last spring.

Baltimore County police and prosecutors said that Yakeem Zavion Wheatley, 16, and Antoine Willie Lawson, 17, were among a group of young people who attacked 61-year-old Richard Fletcher when he tried to break up a fight outside his home on April 22.


In separate hearings in Baltimore County's juvenile court, Wheatley and Lawson pleaded guilty to first-degree assault. Both initially had been charged as adults with attempted first-degree murder, but those charges were dropped and the cases were moved to juvenile court.

Judge Sherrie R. Bailey ordered both into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services.

Prosecutors Michelle Fuller and Karen Gross said in court that Fletcher heard a commotion outside his home and went out to find two young people fighting and others standing on his truck. When he told them to stop, they turned on him and several beat, punched and kicked him.

Fletcher's injuries included facial fractures, broken ribs and bleeding in his brain. He was put into a medically induced coma, prosecutors said.

Both teens acknowledged to police they were present during the fight, prosecutors said. Cellphone videos of the fight showed the two involved in the attack. Administrators from nearby Baltimore Community High School helped identify the two teens and others in the videos, prosecutors said.

The city school board voted this week to close the school at the end of this school year. Neighbors have complained for years that unruly students cause trouble when they walk from the school to MTA bus stops after school each afternoon.

Fletcher attended Thursday's hearings with several supporters but declined to address the court and declined to comment afterward. He submitted a written victim impact statement.

Lawson apologized to Fletcher in court. "I do know what I did was wrong," he said. Wheatley did not address the court

Bailey called the attack on Fletcher "egregious."

"There was a time when any young person would be afraid to talk back to an adult, let alone this," she said.

Wheatley and Lawson are among seven people charged in the attack. Another has been move to juvenile court, and the four charged as adults are scheduled to go on trial in April.