In February, Brendan Depa, then 17, was reported to have been arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery with bodily harm after footage showed him kicking and punching Matanzas High School paraprofessional Joan Naydich.
In a statement shared at the time, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said that Depa (seen in court footage from earlier this year above) had stated “he was upset because the victim took his Nintendo Switch away from him during class.” However, a message shared to a GoFundMe set up on the paraprofessional’s behalf disputed this aspect of the story, with the fundraiser organizer saying Naydich “never took or even mentioned the Nintendo Switch being taken away from the student.”
Monday, per a report from the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Depa, now 18, entered an open plea on the battery charge during a hearing in Bunnell. He’s facing a possible maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars, though the open plea could result in some negotiating down the line. For now, a sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31.
Both Depa’s family and his lawyer previously argued he isn’t competent to stand trial, citing autism.
Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt also previously addressed the viral footage at the center of the case, saying back in February that it was critical to provide “a safe learning and working environment on our campuses.”
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