BLOOMINGTON — A 16-year-old Bloomington boy was sentenced Thursday to a term in the Department of Juvenile Justice and probation for stabbing another youth last fall at a park in Normal.

The defendant could be ordered to remain in Juvenile Justice custody until he is 21 years old. A jury convicted him of aggravated battery Nov. 24.

The 17-year-old victim was treated for a collapsed lung after he was "slammed in the back" at Anderson Park, he said during the trial in March.

The defendant’s mother submitted a letter, the contents of which were not disclosed at Thursday's sentencing hearing. Discussion of the letter indicated she asked Judge Jason Chambers for leniency for her son.

The teen will be given credit for time spent in the county juvenile detention center. The Department of Juvenile Justice will determine the length of his custody; his lawyer, Art Feldman, estimated he will spend two years in custody.

The Pantagraph does not name minors charged in juvenile court.

Assistant State’s Attorney Samantha Vasquez asked that the teen be deemed a habitual juvenile offender and ordered to the Department of Juvenile Justice given his previous criminal record.

Vasquez said three felony charges meet the requirements of a habitual juvenile offender and she listed four felony charges on the teen’s record, including charges that led to probation before the park incident.

Feldman said he didn't think the court was required to find the boy to be a habitual juvenile offender. 

But Chambers ruled the state met “what’s necessary to prove the habitual juvenile offender status.”

In remarks to the youth, Chambers said based on the teen's previous record, his crimes appear to have elevated, but he didn't think he is a lost cause.

“I see some considerable misbehavior. I see thefts, I see some pretty serious offenses, but I don’t see you attacking someone,” Chambers said of the teen’s criminal record. “This offense is a step up in terms of the level of violence to another person.”

Factoring in his age, prior failures on probation, the nature of the offense and the harm to the other teen, Chambers said the defendant might not be successful on probation again.

Chambers then sentenced the boy to be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice as a habitual offender, saying he didn’t have a lot of choice; probation was ordered in regards to a single count of aggravated battery involving great bodily harm.

The length of the probation was not specified, but the court will review his case in April 2021 to determine what, if any, further action will be taken.

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Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.