Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati Enquirer, April 30, 2009
UPDATE: The robbery case against three teenagers accused of attacking a woman outside the Westwood library in January was dismissed Friday morning.
Prosecutors dismissed the charge against one boy, admitting they did not have enough evidence to go forward.
When the 18-year-old victim failed to show up for the boys’ trial in Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Magistrate Elizabeth Igoe dismissed the case against his co-defendants, who also faced robbery charges. Igoe said charges could be re-filed if the witness decides to go forward with the case.
Police say the boys are part of a Westwood gang called the McFarland boys in which boys roamed in packs randomly attacking victims to gain status in the gang. In all, 10 juveniles were arrested.
Two others, including the group’s ringleader, were sent to juvenile prison on robbery charges. But the cases have proved difficult to prosecute. Three other boys had cased against them dismissed when victims in those cases failed to show up for court. Another got probation and another wasn’t formally charged.
Youth Gang Terrorized Westwood
Baby gangster, gangster, old gangster, prince and finally, king.
That was the Westwood youth gang’s hierarchy.
Anyone who wanted to advance through those ranks had to randomly attack someone. Depending on what happened, points would be awarded. An attack earned one point, a robbery six.
A boy had to be invited into the gang. Every six points he earned brought a “promotion.”
The boys roamed in a pack, drawing power from their numbers.
They targeted white victims because they believed white people would only call police after being attacked. Black victims, they reasoned, would gather family members and retaliate.
Their victims included a 5-foot-1, 130-pound deaf woman they followed out the Westwood library, a Harrison Avenue businessman who came to the aid of a teenager under attack and a man who had a concealed carry permit and scared them off with his gun.
Westwood Elementary School told authorities trouble was brewing in the early months of the 2008-2009 school year, with near daily fights erupting at school, Detective Mike Roth said.
“The more you fought, the more respect you got,” he said.
Some were taking boxing classes to learn how to hit harder and fight better, Roth said.