State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Two Men Sentenced for Assaulting High School Student

by on July 02, 2013 6:36 PM

Zachariah Johnson and Joseph Jenkins were both sentenced Tuesday after being convicted on six counts of assault and robbery in May for beating up a high school boy and stealing money out of his wallet at a party in State College in July 2011.

Johnson was sentenced to five and a half to 11 years in prison and Jenkins received three and a half to seven years in prison, according to Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. Judge Pamela Ruest presided over the sentencing. The co-defendant's trial in May only lasted one day, and they were convicted on one count of felony robbery: bodily injury, one count of felony robbery: bodily injury–criminal conspiracy, one count of felony robbery: physical removal of property, one count of felony robbery: physical removal of property-criminal conspiracy, one count misdemeanor simple assault, and one count of harassment, a summary offense.

On July 9, 2011, the night before he was attacked, the high school student and a friend met Johnson and Jenkins for the first time at McDonalds. The victim attempted to introduce himself to Johnson and Jenkins but both defendants were discourteous, Parks Miller says. In the early hours of July 10, Jenkins and Johnson jumped and viciously beat the victim outside a party they all went to for the contents of his wallet.

The incident occurred when the victim went outside to use the restroom and was standing secluded and alone by himself near some dumpsters. Johnson and Jenkins came up to him, trapped him in a corner behind a dumpster and demanded that he give them money to buy more beer for the party.

Parks Miller says the victim was scared, so he took money from his wallet and handed it to Johnson and Jenkins. The victim tried to walk around them in an effort to get away. But Johnson and Jenkins saw more money and attacked him, punched him in his right temple, then a second time in his left jaw. The victim was knocked down to where Jenkins held his head to the ground with the bottom of his foot and Johnson raided the victim's pockets and robbed him of approximately $9 cash, a bank ATM card and a pack of cigarettes.

The victim was told that "he was lucky to be alive," Parks Miller says. He suffered a fractured jaw and a laceration above his right eyebrow which required stitches.

"These two have substantial pasts which demonstrate that state prison is the best place for them to reflect for the next few years on the cowardly act of attacking a high school kid for a few dollars," Parks Miller says.

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Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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