NORTH ANDOVER — It all started with a fight over a girl. Two teenage boys fought earlier in the week, friends jumped in, people got hurt, and a high-school feud was born.
Wednesday morning it ended when 16-year-old Jamie Taormina was loaded into an ambulance, his face bloodied and swollen, and four other teens were placed in lockup at the North Andover police station.
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Defeo said another 16-year-old girl lured Taormina to Walker Road under the guise of wanting to talk. Instead Derek Williams, Anthony Sargent and James Reinhart allegedly approached the car they were in, hit him with an aluminum bat and pushed him to the ground, punching and kicking him.
It might have started over a girl, but neither of the two teens who originally fought over a high-school crush took part in Wednesday's assault.
Defeo called the fight "retaliation."
Taormina, sticking up for his friend, had allegedly hit two of their friends with either a crowbar or pipe during the fight earlier in the week, requiring one to get stitches.
"They were intent on getting payback," Defeo said in Lawrence District Court yesterday. "They got him on the ground and proceeded to kick and punch him."
Williams, 17, of 61 Pleasant St., Reinhart, 18, of 36 Bay State Road, both of North Andover, and Sargent, 19, of 6 Sunset Ave., Methuen, were arraigned yesterday on assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charges. The girl was arraigned in Juvenile Court.
All three were ordered held on $2,500 cash bail, which Reinhart posted Wednesday night. Sargent also was detained without bail for violating probation on a past charge of larceny and conspiracy to commit robbery when he allegedly took part in a staged robbery at the North Andover Market Basket.
Reinhart and Williams are North Andover High School students. Sargent hopes to get his GED.
Defeo said Taormina had to get stitches in his leg, and his head and chest were covered in bumps and bruises. Police originally said Taormina's jaw was broken, but Defeo said doctors found that not to be the case.
But defense attorneys yesterday said Taormina wasn't exactly an innocent victim in this case.
Attorney Kara DiFruscia said Sargent told her that Taormina tried to run him off the road at one point. Attorney Mark Hooper said Williams wanted to fight Taormina for hitting his friends "out of misguided loyalty."
"This is no ordinary fight," DiFruscia said during the teens' bail hearing.
Both attorneys said they expect complaints to be filed against Taormina.
Wednesday's attack happened at 10:15 a.m.
A 16-year-old girl picked up Taormina from a McDonald's near the high school and brought him to a parking lot of a Walker Road apartment complex to talk.
She also allegedly told Williams, Reinhart and Sargent to be there.
Taormina told police the three tried to pull him out of the vehicle. When he wouldn't move, Sargent grabbed an aluminum bat from the back seat and struck him in the right leg. Taormina got out of the car and Williams allegedly started to punch him.
Then all three pulled him to the ground, punching and kicking him in the face and chest, he told police.
The teens fled through a wooded area behind the complex, but were caught in the parking lot at 1 High St.
Sargent at first told police that he was in the fight, but denied using a bat. He later admitted he grabbed a bat, but never hit Taormina with it; that it might have hit him when he threw it to the ground, police said.
Reinhart allegedly had blood on his hands. Williams had blood stains on his jeans and told police, "That's right. I beat (him) up," according to reports.
Williams and Sargent smiled as they awaited their arraignments in a holding area yesterday, trying to communicate with two friends sitting in the courtroom.
But they both grew serious when they heard their bails. Williams shook his head and looked at the ceiling.
Sargent arched his eyebrows and gasped when he heard he would be spending another night in jail.
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