KEARNEY — The third teen involved in the “senseless beating” of a Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center employee has been sent to prison.
Jabreen Sidney, 17, was sentenced Monday in Buffalo County District Court to 5-15 years in prison for felony first-degree assault of the YRTC staff member on Feb. 7. Judge Ryan Carson gave Sidney, who appeared in court via Zoom, 227 days credit for time already served in jail.
With good time, Sidney could be eligible for parole in 23 months and possibly discharged in seven years.
Monday, Buffalo County Attorney Shawn Eatherton said YRTC video surveillance of the attacks is disturbing.
“These people were trying to help those young men, and they were beaten,” he said. “We’re lucky one of the employees weren’t killed.”
Sidney’s public defender, Tom Stewart of Kearney, said the incident was Sidney’s first conviction as an adult, and that Sidney wasn’t interested in probation.
Sidney’s record started five years ago, Carson said, with vandalism and theft. The night of the YRTC attack Carson said Sidney wanted to escape the facility. Instead he stomped on a YRTC’s staff member’s head with his foot, sending the staffer to the emergency room.
Although the state probation department classified Sidney as a high risk to reoffend, Carson told Sidney he didn’t feel it was the end of the road for him, and to make better choices. When Carson asked Sidney what he wanted to do with his life, Sidney said “finish school.”
At 1:35 a.m. Feb. 7 the teens were in the Lincoln Living Unit at Kearney’s YRTC when Tapia and Lee started removing the headboard from a metal bed frame. A YRTC staff member exited a nearby office and verbally confronted Tapia.
A third teen, Sidney, stepped in between the staff member and Tapia while Tapia began hitting a glass window with the bed frame.
The staff member grabbed Tapia, and records indicate the teens began punching the staffer in the head. A second YRTC staff member tried to intervene and was punched by all the teens.
Two additional staff members intervened, were hit with multiple punches to the head and attacked several times with pieces of the bed frame.
At one point a staff member tried to walk away from the teens and was grabbed around the neck and taken to the ground.
The teens disassembled a second bed frame to hit the glass, records indicate, and the pieces were used to hit two staff members over their backs. Another staff member was backed into a corner where a teen hit him with a piece of the bed frame.
At 1:48 a.m., one of the teens began taunting Kearney Police Department officers who had arrived at the scene, but could not get into the unit. Records don’t explain why police were unable to enter the area.
Approximately three minutes later, one of the teens punched a staff member again, and the staffer fell to the floor where a second teen kicked him, stomped on his head and kicked him in the ribs.
KPD officers then entered the living unit a minute later and took the teens into custody.
The incident was recorded on YRTC video surveillance.
After the incident, two staff members were transported to CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney, while a third staffer was taken by private vehicle to the hospital. One staff member was held overnight and later released.
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