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Teen in North Lauderdale Pool Party Assault Avoids Jail, Gets Probation

16-year-old will serve 200 hours of community service as part of plea deal

The teen who was seen in a video posted to social media throwing a woman into a pool at a party in North Lauderdale agreed to a plea deal Tuesday that will see him avoid jail time.

Leon Balfour Joseph, now 17, will serve 200 hours of community service under the plea deal, which was announced during a court hearing in Broward. Of the 200 hours, 100 will be for service to the elderly, while the other half will be service to an animal shelter or humane society.

He will also undergo a psychological evaluation and be on probation for one year.

During the hearing, the teen read a letter to the victim, Nancy James, expressing remorse and saying he made a "horrible mistake."

"I don't know what was going through my mind...I am totally remorseful," Joseph said. "I am not the person people are depicting me to be. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."

Police had charged Joseph with one count of battery on a person 65 years of age or older in the May 7 incident at the pool party at the Players Place Townhomes on Champions Way in North Lauderdale.

James said she was walking with her two dogs when she approached partygoers to try to get them to turn their music down. The video posted on social media showed a group gather around her as someone is heard saying "throw her in" in the background.

That's when the teen picked James off the ground and they both fell to the ground. The teen then got up, grabbed James and threw her into the pool while falling in himself.

One of James' dogs appeared to go into the pool with her. The video showed most of the large crowd fleeing the pool.

James was left with bruises on her arms and legs after the incident.

"What he did was very cruel and inhumane. He didn't think. He was given many tines to rethink what he was doing. He listened to the crowd instead of his inner being, he needs to work on that," James said at Tuesday's hearing. "You have so much ahead of you. You've got dreams. Unfortunately you're gonna have to live with that."

The teen surrendered to the Broward Sheriff's Office a couple days after the party. He was initially given 21 days in juvenile detention, which he served at his home while wearing an ankle monitor.

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