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Mar 15, 2012 8:59 AM by AP

2 teens linked with fatal shooting released

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) - Two of the six friends who were with a 15-year-old who was shot dead in Raceland have pleaded no contest to reduced charges and will not have to serve jail time.

The Daily Comet reports one of the teenagers, an 11th-grader at Thibodaux High, appeared in court Tuesday and was sentenced to a year of probation. He pleaded no contest to two counts of simple assault.

The other teenager entered the same plea at his arraignment Feb. 29 and was sentenced to 56 days in jail but was given credit for time served and released the same day.

A "no contest" plea means the defendant is not admitting to the charges but accepts the punishment for them.

The six teens initially faced various gang and drug charges after they were accused of assaulting a man who then fatally shot Jamonta Miles, an eighth-grader at Thibodaux Elementary.

Police said the shooting happened as Miles and the other teens rode through Raceland in a sport utility vehicle, looking for a person they were arguing with on Facebook. They did not find that person, but became involved in conflicts with others. The Lafourche District Attorney's Office later reduced charges against all of the teens to simple assault.

Detectives concluded that the shooting was self-defense. A Lafourche grand jury agreed and decided not to indict the shooter, Byron Thomas, 21, of Raceland.

The four teens who have not yet been sentenced have all been released from jail; their trials are set for May 8.

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