CLEVELAND — One of the teenagers accused of killing undercover Cleveland police detective James Skernivitz and his confidential informant Scott Dingess was sentenced Tuesday in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.
The now 16-year-old apologized to the veteran officer’s family for his role in the murder. “I don’t expect immediate forgiveness because what I’ve done is unforgivable,” said the teenager.
“He has been remorseful from the day I met him,” said his attorney Oscar Rodriguez.
The teen, who did not fire any shots, entered a guilty plea to two counts of aggravated murder earlier this month. As part of the plea agreement, the teenager will testify against the other co-defendants, including the alleged shooter.
“Detective James Skernivitz was taken in the pursuit of justice which makes him more than a detective, it makes him a hero and me a coward,” the teen said.
The teenager’s name is not being released because of his age. He was sentenced to an Ohio Department of Youth Services facility until he turns 21. If he does well in the facility, he will be released when he is 21 years old.
“I think he will use this time to reflect, remorse and better himself,” said attorney Elissa Schooler.
If he doesn’t do well while in custody, he will be given an adult prison sentence of 23-years-to-life.
Skernivitz and Dingess were in an unmarked police car preparing for a drug operation when police said a group of youths ambushed the two in a botched robbery.
“I’m so sorry for what I have done, and I will live with this guilt forever,” said the teen.
The Skernivitz family declined to comment. The teenager’s mother also declined to make a statement.
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