A Buffalo Bills cornerback spared two 16-year-old Hamburg youths a criminal record by telling prosecutors not to throw the book at them for vandalizing his front lawn.
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Monday that he will not prosecute the teens for vandalizing the lawn of Leodis McKelvin hours after McKelvin's last-minute fumble cost the Bills a victory against the New England Patriots last week.
Instead, the teens will perform 120 hours of community service for the Sept. 15 incident.
Though McKelvin initially had given Town of Hamburg police a sworn statement demanding that whoever damaged his lawn be prosecuted, he changed his mind, Sedita said.
In public statements, McKelvin later said he didn't favor prosecution, and Sedita said the cornerback expressed the same sentiment Friday when he met with G. Michael Drmacich, chief of the district attorney's Justice Court Bureau.
"Based on the wishes of the victim, the nature of the offenses, the age of the offenders, their lack of a criminal record, their remorse, their willingness to perform 120 hours of community service and upon consultation with the Town of Hamburg police," the case is closed for now, Sedita said in a written statement.
"The decision to decline prosecution will be revisited should either offender commit additional crimes or fail to fulfill his community service obligations," Sedita stressed.
Wednesday, the two youths admitted to Hamburg police that they had spray-painted messages of frustration on McKelvin's front lawn in the Briercliff Estates subdivision off Amsdell Road at about 2 a.m. last Tuesday because of his fumble that led to the Bills' 25-24 loss.
The messages included the statement "learn 2 take a knee," as well as the score and a depiction of the male anatomy.
According to Hamburg Lt. Kevin A. Trask, police got an anonymous tip linking one of the youths to the vandalism and that youth, when confronted, fingered his buddy.
Neither of the youths was ever placed in criminal custody. The Buffalo News is withholding publication of their names because of their ages and the fact that they were not charged.