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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

Last of 5 teens pleads guilty in decoy prank


KENTON, Ohio - The last of five teens charged with putting a deer decoy on a country road as a prank, causing a crash that seriously injured two other teens, has pleaded no contest.

Corey Manns, 16, changed his plea Monday in Hardin County Common Pleas Court as his trial was to begin. All five teens now have pleaded no contest to two counts of vehicular vandalism and charges of petty theft and possession of criminal tools.

Three of them - Dailyn Campbell, 16, Jesse Howard, 17, and Joshua Lowe, 18 - were sentenced to 60 days in juvenile detention. The fourth, Taylor Rogers, 18, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 15.

Visiting Judge Gary McKinley's decision to suspend Campbell and Howard's sentences until after Kenton High School's football season upset the victims' families.

Judge Damian Vercillo, who was assigned to Manns' case because Judge McKinley knows Manns' grandparents, said he would sentence the teen after he received a report and recommendation from the probation department.

Judge Vercillo cautioned Manns not to assume that he would receive the same punishment as his friends.

"Your sentence is my decision and mine alone," Judge Vercillo said. Investigators said a group of teens stole the decoy from a man's home last November, placed it in the road, and watched as drivers swerved to avoid it. Robert Roby, Jr., who tried to miss the deer and crashed his car, suffered several broken bones, and his passenger, Dustin Zachariah, has brain damage.

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