Two 13-year-old boys who face manslaughter and assault charges in connection with the death of a fellow student who died after being punched at school in Moreno Valley in September were released from juvenile hall to home custody pending legal proceedings on Friday.
Diego Stolz, 13, died more than a week after he was punched at during the school day at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley and fell, striking his head on the ground, officials said. The alleged attack was recorded on cell phone video, and the victim's family has said he had reported being bullied prior to the deadly encounter.
Two fellow students have been charged with voluntary manslaughter and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury in connection with Stolz's death. They have been held at a juvenile detention facility since their arrests.
But both young suspects were released from custody Friday pending legal proceedings, drawing outrage from family and friends of Stolz.
A group of protestors greeted the boys and shouted "Justice for Diego" as the boys were driven away from the facility.
Stolz's family filed a wrongful death claim against the Moreno Valley Unified School District earlier this week. The following day, Landmark Middle School announced it would be replacing the school's principal and assistant principal, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
"They need to be in jail," family friend Jessica Pina told KTLA, adding that the decision to release the suspects was not fair.
"They get to go home and have a hot meal and sleep in their beds and do fun stuff at home," Pina said. "They are going to get to spend thanksgiving with their friends, their loved ones. Diego's not going to be here."
Both boys are due in court for a hearing on Dec. 6. They have denied the allegations against them.