The three young men accused in connection with the alleged beating death of Ohio teenager Ethan Liming have been indicted on lesser charges related to the fatal fight.
A grand jury in Summit County, Ohio, indicted brothers DeShawn and Tyler Stafford, ages 20 and 19, respectively, and their 21-year-old cousin, Donovon Jones, in connection with the early June incident fight that was allegedly started over the use of a water-bead gun.
Court papers from earlier this week show the grand jury indicted DeShawn Stafford on two counts of involuntary manslaughter – felonies in the first and third degree, respectively – and one count each of first-degree assault and fourth-degree aggravated assault.
Tyler Stafford was indicted on single counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and first-degree assault, while Jones was indicted on two counts of first-degree assault, records show.
Attorneys representing each of the three men did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment and additional information.
Summit County Prosecutor’s Office Chief Counsel Brad Gessner told the Akron Beacon Journal investigators had obtained new information related to the case after the trio had initially been charged.
The three men were each originally charged with murder and felonious assault, past records showed. Authorities also charged Jones with disrupting public service. All three pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges. Each were ordered held on $1 million bond.
The three suspects reportedly declined to testify before the grand jury.
Gessner told the Beacon Journal the new information related to the case could not yet “be made public,” but said no additional people had been arrested on related charges.
“At this point, we have been focused on the acts that led to Ethan’s death and those who committed the offenses,” he said, according to the report. “We have not focused on the passengers in his (Liming’s) vehicle.”
In a lengthy statement provided by family spokesperson and attorney Michael Callahan, Bill Liming, Ethan’s father, said he and his family “are grieving.”
“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,” he wrote. “Rather than become bitter, we are choosing to fall back on our faith.”
Liming said that he and his family have “always taught all of our children to love everyone.”
“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,” he went on. “This summer has been a horrific summer of violence and tragedy here in Akron. Our family is not the only ones who have had to suffer.”
He added: “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. Of that, I am certain- not politics, not division, but love.”
Liming, 17, died after suffering blunt force trauma to his head on the night of June 2. Police said Liming was in a vehicle with friends as the group was “riding around the surrounding area shooting a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster at objects and possibly unsuspecting people.”
The group then pulled into the I Promise School – a property that is supported in part by The Lebron James Family Foundation – and made its way toward the basketball court.
“The teens then appeared to have targeted or approached the subjects who were on the court and fired the gel soft gun at them,” police said at the time. “The collective actions of the teens in the car appear to have unfortunately provoked the altercation.”
At least two of the people who were in the car with Liming exited the vehicle and fired the water bead gun at the crowd on the basketball court, police said. They then allegedly ran back to the car, where both groups converged, and a fight broke out.
Affidavits related to the suspects’ arrests, provided to Fox News Digital in June, described how police believed each of the men were involved “in an altercation with Liming” and his three friends. They allegedly “punched” and “assaulted” each of the four victims, and “beat Liming until he was unconscious.” They each “then beat him more” while “he was unconscious on the ground,” the affidavits state.
The affidavits further allege that each of the boys then repeatedly “stomped and kicked Liming” in his head.
Jones then allegedly took Liming’s friend’s cell phone as he tried to call 911. Meanwhile, Tyler and DeShawn Stafford “took Liming’s car and drove it to the other end of the lot” when Liming’s friends tried to take him to the hospital, the affidavit states.
Liming was unresponsive by the time police arrived at the scene, authorities said.
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