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Boys Get Probation For Throwing Bricks At Woman’s Home

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Margaret Matthews

Margaret Matthews (CBS)

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UPDATED 01/26/11 1:51 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Two pre-teen boys have been sentenced to probation for throwing bricks at the home of an elderly South Side woman, who in turn shot and wounded one of them in the shoulder.

The 12-year-old boy who was shot was sentenced to one year of probation, 50 hours of community service, and counseling Wednesday because he had never been arrested before. His family declined to comment, CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports.

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The second suspect, a 13-year-old boy, was sentenced to a year’s probation, 30 hours of community service, and a victim impact panel.

Neither boy can have contact with the victim.

The case hit the headlines in September when the boys’ 68-year-old victim, Margaret Matthews, shot the 12-year-old boy in the shoulder as he lobbed bricks at her from the roof of a shed at her home in the 7600 block of South Coles Avenue.

Neighbors characterized the the youths as “bad boys.”

They said they would often call police about the “bad boys,” and officers would come and take the boys into custody. But after the boys were released, they would go back to the neighborhood and terrorize it all over again.

Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Berman scolded Matthews for her actions.

Berman said it was “disturbing that someone who had an unregistered firearm started shooting at someone who had admittedly started the attack” in a non-life-threatening situation, he said. “Three or four inches in the other direction and this could have been a tragedy,” he added.

He said there were “no red flags” in either boy’s background, adding that the law did not allow him to sentence them to the juvenile detention center.

Following the incident, Matthews said she never meant to shoot the boy.

“God no, I didn’t,” Matthews said in September, “and I’m so glad that it wasn’t any worse than it is. I’m so glad that he’s going to be all right. I hope mentally; physically, he’s going to be fine.”

During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Matthews issued an impact statement, which was read by an assistant Cook County state’s attorney.

In part, Matthews wrote that children should get more than a pat on the back and a slap on the wrist.”

“They need to be held accountable for their actions,” Matthews wrote. “Parents should be taking their children to church.”

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