Gardner Teen Sentenced for Death of Classmate

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas teenager is sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation in the death of a classmate who died after a so-called "fun fight'' earlier this year.

Sixteen-year-old Dustin Howard of Gardner cried as the mother of the victim made a statement prior to Howard's sentencing Thursday.

Dakota DeRemus, who had a congenital heart condition, collapsed and died after a fight with Howard in February. Testimony during the trial indicated that the 16-year-old DeRemus had challenged Howard to the fight one day in algebra. Howard first said no because he had nothing to gain by fighting the smaller DeRemus. He later agreed.

Howard told the judge he did not know that DeRemus had a heart condition, and said he is ``truly sorry for what happened.''

Howard pleaded no-contest earlier this week to aggravated battery and avoided a trial for involuntary manslaughter, which could have sent him to a juvenile facility for up to three years.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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