Teen-Age BB Gun Triggerman Reaches Plea Agreement

CLEVELAND – There won't be a murder trial in the case of a 13-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot in the back by another teen-ager while picking pears from a tree, 19/43 News' Bill Younkin reported.

Andre Beasley, 18, fired the air rifle at Raymond Bozak, killing him with a BB pellet.

Beasley avoided a possible life sentence if found guilty of murder by pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter as part of a plea agreement.

For the family of the 13-year-old, the deal means closure, and they called it "fair."

The Bozak family, along with two of their four boys, showed little emotion as Beasley stood before the court. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and endangering children in the August shooting death.

Bozak and his friends were picking pears off a tree like they did every night when Beasley shot him once in the back with a BB gun.

The shooting put Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood in shock.

Beasley was riding in a car driven by Dontel Lassiter, who had already pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Chuck Kratochvil, who is a Bozak family friend, said that the crime just doesn't make any sense.

"A prank like that is unbelievable -- to shoot into a crowd of kids," Kratochvil said. "I could see that he just wanted to sting them, he just didn't know what the circumstances would be."

In court on Friday, the Bozak family didn't want to talk about what happened. A close family friend said that they would do their talking when Beasley and Lassiter are sentenced.

"They are never going to get over this," city councilman and family friend Michael Polensek said. "We didn't want retribution. We didn't want reprisals. We wanted justice."

"The family understands it and agrees that this is indeed a fair plea, and now it's up to the judge to sentence appropriately," assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Jerry Dowling said.

Beasley faces three to 10 years behind bars for involuntary manslaughter and two to eight for child endangering. He and Lassiter are to be sentenced at the Justice Center on April 25.