ST. LOUIS • A teenager who admitted to robbing a 73-year-old man who was struck unconscious as part of a so-called “knockout game” was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.
Edduar Reyes, 18, of Taft Street in St. Louis, will get credit for the 16 months he has already spent in jail on charges of second-degree robbery, a felony, and misdemeanor resisting arrest.
According to prosecutors, Reyes and three friends approached the victim on Sept. 21, 2011, as the man was placing items in his car on the 3800 block of Hartford Street. Prosecutors say that one of the young men hit the victim on the head, knocking him unconscious, and that Reyes stole his wallet.
The victim called police when he regained consciousness, and responding officers found Reyes and the others at Hartford Street and Arkansas Avenue. The officers reported chasing after the group, catching two of them: Reyes and one of his friends, who was not named by authorities because he is a juvenile.
Both were arrested and admitted to the attack, saying it was one of the other two friends who hit the victim.
Reyes pleaded guilty to his charges in November. A spokesperson for Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office said she could not provide information on whether charges were brought against the others because they are juveniles.
Assistant Circuit Attorney Steven Capizzi had asked the judge for a seven-year prison sentence for Reyes. Capizzi said the victim was “still very upset over what happened” and the incident shook the neighborhood.
Reyes’ public defender, Katrina Jones, asked for probation, saying her client wanted to finish high school and would live with his father.
Reyes has a burglary charge from when he was a juvenile, according to prosecutors, but this is his first adult offense. Sentencing guidelines call for five to 15 years on the robbery charge.
Reyes is one of several teenagers who have been charged in so-called “knockout game” attacks in recent years. Teenagers interviewed by the Post-Dispatch have acknowledged that the name is used for random, unprovoked attacks and that it is common fun for some in their age group.
On her Facebook page, Joyce expressed frustration that the name is being used by teenagers and media outlets.
“Although this type of crime has generated a lot of media attention, this is not a game — no matter what the criminals want to call it,” she wrote. “This is a crime. Innocent people get hurt. These actions are a form of terrorism, designed to create fear in individuals and exert power over others.”