Police: Youth counselor beat to death by seven teens at L.A. group home


LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating the fatal beating of a counselor that occurred at a South Los Angeles youth home. Officials say that seven suspects, five of which are juveniles, were involved and one suspect is still at large. 

According to the LASD, 25-year-old David McKnight-Hillman suffered a brutal beating that turned out to be fatal on January 2nd at the Wayfinder Family Services within the 5300 block of Angeles Vista Boulevard.

The Wayfinder Family Services happens to be a private, non-profit organization that specializes in providing residential therapeutic services to children and youth that are placed there by the Department of Children and Family Services.

LASD deputies were first called out to the location at approximately 9:50 p.m. on January 2nd when responding to a call regarding a group of teens involved in some sort of a fight. 

By the time deputies had arrived on the scene, they’d discovered McKnight-Hillman suffering from several injuries that appeared to be the result of blunt force trauma. When the victim was transported to a hospital for treatment, he sadly succumbed to his injuries. 

When homicide investigators began looking into what occurred that evening, they’d learned that McKnight-Hillman was one of the counselors that was tasked with some of the day-to-day endeavors involving caring for the residents at Wayfinder Family Services. 

Investigators believe that he was attempting to break up a fight on the evening of January 2nd, which then led to him being fatally beaten by the group reportedly involved. 

So far, seven suspects were said to have been involved in the beating, which authorities currently have six in custody. The two adults said to have been involved in the crime were identified as 18-year-olds Nyier Mason and Keith Lewis. 

Both Lewis and Mason were booked into the Marina Del Rey Sheriff’s Station under charges of murder. As for the remaining suspects, four of the juveniles allegedly involved in the murder have been apprehended and are in custody at the East Lake Juvenile Hall. 

Officials suspect that they too will be brought up on murder charges as well. One of the juvenile suspects is currently at large, but detectives are said to know the suspect by name and are currently tracking him down. 

The investigation into this murder is still ongoing, according to the LASD.

Anyone with information about the incident or at-large suspect is urged to call the LASD’s Homicide Unit at 323-890-5500.

Details on the case can also be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google Play or the Apple App Store. Tips can also be submitted using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

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Murders allegedly committed by juveniles has been a matter affecting numerous cities across the country. In New York City, a judge is receiving quite the backlash for having released a teenage murder suspect from jail due to concerns over the pandemic. 

Here’s that previous report. 


BRONX, NY- Bail reform, COVID-19 releases and a number of other things have seriously flawed the justice system in recent years. 

It has come to light that a Bronx judge released a teen murder suspect, not once but twice, allowing him to harm others again. 

Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle freed 16-year-old Jordon Benjamin without bail after allegedly stabbing a young woman, Amya Hick in the stomach. 

The worst part about Benjamin’s most recent crime however, is he was set free despite two pending cases of violent crimes against him. 

The first case against Benjamin is from Christmas Eve 2019. Sixty-year-old Juan Fresnada was walking with his roommate when police said the pair were assaulted by a group of teenagers, one of those teen’s allegedly including Benjamin, The New York Post reported.

Video of the brutal attack shows that the teens brutally stomped on Fresnada and beat him with a garbage can. He died from his injuries three days later at Lincoln Hospital, police said.

That vicious beating, and the loss of life, was all for $1, which is what the teens made off with.

Benjamin was initially confined to the Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn on a manslaughter charge but freed by Boyle in March due to concerns over the coronavirus behind bars, The New York Post reported.

Then on December 14th, Benjamin allegedly slashed Hicks on Intervale Avenue in the Bronx, not far from his Hall Place home.

He was arrested three days later and charged with felony assault and attempted assault, and misdemeanor weapons possession, but was again released by Judge Boyle without bail at his arraignment.

Benjamin’s alleged victims and their families are now furious over the fact that this extremely dangerous teen is being allowed to walk the streets despite his repeated heinous crimes.

On Monday, December 28th, 33-year-old Tynisha Smith, the mother of Amya Hicks said:

“This is crazy, we thought he was still in jail,”  

She continued:

“She doesn’t have an order of protection or nothing. He’s local. He hangs out two blocks away.”

She went on to say:

“Nobody called us, I’m going to ring her now and tell her to get home. They didn’t give us a heads up or nothing. This is ridiculous. He can hurt another person.”

According to Smith, her daughter spent two days in the hospital and underwent surgery to treat her wounds.

Also on Monday, 30-year-old Bayron Caceres, the roommate of Benjamin’s alleged first victim, Juan Fresnada, said when he heard the news of Benjamin’s freedom:

“I’m shocked,”  

He went on to say:

“It’s injustice,”

Caceres continued:

“I thought he was on trial. I thought he was in jail. It is unbelievable to me, the injustice.”

According to the post, Fresnada’s building is just steps away from where Benjamin and his friends regularly hang out.

A neighbor told The Post:

“I can’t believe they let him back out here,”

The neighbor went on to say:

“Now I gotta keep looking back over my shoulder.”

In response to the backlash that Boyle is now receiving, the state Office of Court Administration released a statement that said Boyle followed the law.

OCA spokesman Lucian Chalfen said in the statement:

“Judges follow the law and the law clearly states that the least restrictive alternative should be the preeminent driver in bail consideration,” 

Chalfen continued in the statement:

“Once released on his manslaughter charge, this defendant returned to court for all subsequent appearances, and the expectation is that that will continue with the new charge.”

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