4 Vegas teens charged as adults in beating death of fellow student over ‘vaping’ products, headphones

Four Las Vegas high school students are being charged as adults in the beating death of a fellow student, a crime apparently triggered by a dispute over vaping paraphernalia and stolen…

Four Las Vegas high school students are being charged as adults in the beating death of a fellow student, a crime apparently triggered by a dispute over vaping paraphernalia and stolen headphones.

The Associated Press reports that in addition to second-degree murder charges, the teens are also being charged with conspiracy to commit battery, according to Clark County, Nevada’s Deputy District Attorney John Giordani.

Although the juveniles are being charged as adults, the AP is refusing to name the alleged perpetrators because of their minor status at the time of the attack.

But local 8 News Now had no qualms about naming the alleged killers when they were first arrested over a month ago.  

The news station shared mug shots of teens Dontral Beaver, 16; Damien Hernandez, 18; Treavion Randolph, 16; and Gianni Robinson, 17. 

The station also reports that as many as 10 students participated in the fight that occurred just around the corner from Rancho High School.  

The AP said the fight was captured on a cell phone video, which was widely shared on social media.   

Victim Jonathan Lewis, 17, had taken off his shirt, preparing to fight, according to the video, when he was attacked by a crowd on Nov. 1, 2023. 

Lt. Jason Johansson, a homicide detective at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, told the AP the video showed the assailants “immediately swarm him, pull him to the ground and begin kicking, punching and stomping on him.”  

Lewis was eventually left unconscious. 

The teen victim later died from “complications of multiple blunt force injuries” on Nov. 7, said 8 News Now.  

“It’s just unimaginable that you could ever have such little honor and such cowardly behavior that you would beat somebody to death when you’re in a huge group,” Lewis’ father told ABC’s local 13 News KTNV.  

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told KTNV that social media plays a big role in school violence. 

“Whether it’s bullying, harassment, whether it’s a violent crime, whether it’s the actual perpetrator who’s filming it or observers,” said Wolfson. “Yes, we’re seeing an increase in cases involving social media.” 

Nine of the students in the Lewis murder case have so far been arrested, while the 10th remains at large, according to police.   

The AP reports that in Nevada, teens as young as 13 can be charged as adults.  

And that’s the option that the grand jury chose when they finally issued the indictments against the youths last week for second-degree murder. 

Las Vegas area schools, like many school districts nationwide, have experienced a surge in violence since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last year, 24 teens were arrested for murder in Las Vegas, compared to 10 such arrests in 2021 and 4 in 2022, reported KTNV. 

In addition to the COVID-19 fatigue, some are also blaming the outbreak of youth violence on the so-called “restorative justice” reforms that have kept the worst students in schools in the name of “social equity.” 

“The culture in these schools has gotten out of hand in terms of student behavior and what we have seen is an escalation of violence,” John Vellardita, the executive director of the Clark County Education Association, the local union, warned lawmakers last spring.  

The result has been a bi-partisan push by three Democrats and one Republican lawmaker under Assembly Bill 285, to allow schools in Nevada to again remove students immediately if they are a danger to the students or the teachers. 

“I’ve received feedback that the current system has created some unintended challenges, which have in turn opened the door for safety issues in our school(s),” Assemblywomen Angie Taylor, D-Reno, said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 

But for victims like Jonathan Lewis and others, the proposed changes in AB285 will come only after the school safety door has slammed shut on him forever.