In what is typically an idyllic corner of Cape Cod, authorities say something ugly and illegal happened in July.
Prosecutors say a White 14-year-old named Jack Sheeran allegedly lured a Black teen he knew to Goose Pond in Chatham, Massachusetts, through a text he sent.
When the Black teen arrived, witnesses tell police the 14-year-old Sheeran used a racial slur and threw stones before following his alleged target, who couldn't swim but was wearing a life jacket, into the water. At a court hearing earlier this month, a prosecutor described what the Black teen told authorities.
"This young man, Jack Sheeran, held on to his life jacket and pulled him under the water and back up and back repeatedly about four to five times. While doing it, water went into the victim's mouth and nose and he could not breathe," said Eileen Moriarty, the Cape and Islands assistant district attorney.
Sheeran is charged with attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon as a youthful offender. In Massachusetts, that means he is being treated as an adult.
Authorities say Sheeran also tried to pull the Black teen under water by yanking his feet from below. On Wednesday, Sheeran was back in court. His lawyer has described the incident as horseplay.
"This young man had no intent to murder his friend," said Kevin Reddington, Sheeran's defense attorney.
But the case has shocked many in Cape Cod. Local media reported the area school district sent an email saying the alleged attack stands "in stark contrast to the values we hold as a school district and as a community."
Sheeran has been released to his father and is wearing a GPS device as part of his bond.
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