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Boy, 12, Pleads Guilty in Stabbing

February 1, 2002

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ A 12-year-old boy pleaded guilty to juvenile charges of voluntary manslaughter Friday for stabbing another youngster to death outside a movie theater in a fight over a girl.

The defendant, whose name was not released because of his age, was committed to a juvenile detention center until at least age 18, with a possible extension to age 21 _ the maximum penalty.

He was charged with pulling a knife and stabbing to death 11-year-old Nestor ``Tito″ Herrera last February. One thrust of the knife hit the boy in the chest and pierced his heart.

The plea bargain came just before opening statements were to begin in the defendant’s Juvenile Court trial on murder charges.

The defendant, a thin boy who doodled with crayons and a pencil during jury selection, was led out of the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back after he was sentenced.

Juvenile Court is generally closed in Massachusetts, but Judge Rebekah Crampton allowed up to six members of the public in the courtroom, provided they signed agreements not to identify the boy or any witnesses.

Crampton opened the trial after the Springfield Union-News asked to cover it.

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