Four teenagers accused of being part of a group that brutally assaulted a teenager inside a Chula Vista restaurant will remain in custody until their next court date, a judge ruled in juvenile court Monday.
The boys, who will not be identified because of their age, and two others, were arrested on April 16 in connection with the beating of a 16-year-old boy at Cotixan Mexican and Seafood on East Palomar Street, the Chula Vista Police Department said.
A video was captured of the incident and circulated on social media. In it, a group of about a dozen people can be seen punching, kicking and, at one point, throwing a chair onto the teenager's head. As he fell to the floor, the group continued to beat him.
Facing the judge one at a time on charges of assault causing great bodily harm, each asked for release. One juvenile said he was "remorseful."
The judge denied their request and the minors were ordered to remain in San Diego Juvenile Hall until their next court date on May 1. They were also ordered to stay more than 100 yards of the victim.
Suspect one, a 17-year-old high school senior, was called the "ringleader" by the judge. He had no prior record and was on-track to graduate.
Some of the boys' family members attended the hearing in support of their sons.
Police said the juveniles were students at Morse High School and have been suspended as a result of the incident.
The two accused adults, Kent Pasunting, 18, and Aldrin Uy, 19, were arraigned last Thursday.
San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Jack Yeh told NBC 7 Pasunting is facing three charges in connection with the case: assault with a potentially deadly weapon, assault causing bodily injury and battery causing serious injuries. Yeh said Uy is facing two charges: assault causing bodily injury and battery causing serious injuries.
Both Pasunting and Uy pleaded not guilty to all charges.
They were each ordered to stay away from the victim – both in person and on social media – and bail for each was set at $100,000. Pasunting and Uy will both appear in court again on April 25; their preliminary hearings were set for May 1.
Pasunting and Uy attended Mark Twain High School which is an alternative/continuation high school located on the campus of Morse High School, police said.
Investigators believe the teenager was attacked in connection with an ongoing argument between the boy and one of the juveniles arrested.
"The dispute began last month when the victim and suspect got into a heated exchange on social media over comments made to one of the victim’s friends," CVPD said in a Facebook post.
The victim, Paul Martin, said he was coming to the defense of a bullying victim and came forward last week to describe the encounter to a large crowd of supporters.
"I thought I was going to be dead any second. I thought I was going to pass out and they were going to keep on kicking me 'til I stopped breathing," Martin said. "It was scary but I'm just glad it's over."