No jail time for Manchester youth who assaulted fellow teen
MANCHESTER - A Memorial High School bully who ganged up on a fellow student and left him bleeding and with a concussion pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault Thursday, avoiding jail time but receiving penalties that a prosecutor said fit the crime.
Barrome Paquet, 17, of Garvin Avenue in Manchester, received a suspended 12-month jail sentence, meaning he can end up in jail if he gets into trouble over the next three years. He must pay nearly $1,500 of his victim's medical bills, must complete 50 hours of community service, and must be evaluated for anger management and bullying, according to a sentence issued by District Court Judge Gregory Michael in Manchester District Court.
However, Paquet escaped a more serious felony prosecution, after the case was reviewed by the office of Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan.
Hogan said the injuries did not meet the legal definition for felony assault - severe, permanent or protracted loss of impairment of a body part. He also said prosecutors don't want to send someone to jail for a first-time, minor criminal offense.
'The first time someone's done something, there's a lot more leniency toward the person,' said Hogan, whose office did not end up prosecuting because it is a misdemeanor. 'A lot of people just need to be embarrassed; (and told) don't do it again.'
Hogan said the penalties levied on Paquet seem appropriate for the crime.
Last month, the New Hampshire Union Leader wrote about Paquet's role in the March 9 attack of Ibraheem Deek, who was 15 at the time and a fellow student at Memorial. Police reports say Paquet and an unnamed 15-year-old lured Deek into woods. A sucker punch landed Deek on the ground, where the pair punched and kicked him.
The beating left him bruised and bloodied. Injuries include a concussion, post-traumatic stress, shifted teeth, and scar tissue inside his mouth, according to medical reports.
The victim's mother, Salaam Odeh, said she agreed to the plea bargain because prosecutors changed the wording of the complaint to include the phrase that Paquet punched Deek on 'his head and body, causing physical injury, including concussion, damaged teeth and bruising.'
She also praised Michael for chastizing Paquet from the bench. Paquet also had to deliver an apology to Deek, and authorities established distances he must maintain between himself and Deek, both inside and outside of school.
'Everyone should be aware of his punishment so they don't act and behave as he did,' Odeh said. 'It's not fair people like him could pick on good children, good kids, just because they can.'
Odeh had hoped to have the charge upgraded to a felony, and she wanted authorities to consider it as a hate crime. She and her son are Arab Muslims, and Deek has said Paquet had taunted him at high school in the past because of his religion and heritage.
Hogan said authorities did not pursue hate crime charges because no mention was made of slurs in police reports.
School officials have said they normally expel bullies from school for 365 days. But an expelled student can return after a semester if her or she adheres to strict controls such as maintaining good grades, following all school rules, making an apology and keeping clear of the victim.