Teens take plea deal in stabbing death of 17-year-old in Sherman Oaks

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Three teenagers agreed to a plea deal on Friday in connection to the stabbing death of a 17-year-old boy in Sherman Oaks back in February. (KABC)

Three teenagers agreed to a plea deal on Friday in connection to the stabbing death of a 17-year-old boy in Sherman Oaks in February.

D'Andre Charles and P.J. Wartak were best friends with the victim, 17-year-old Jake Koffman, who was stabbed to death in what police described as a drug deal gone bad in February.

He and his friends attempted to rob a drug dealer at a Sherman Oaks apartment complex. The drug dealer claimed self-defense because he said he feared for his life.

Under California law, Charles and Wartak were charged in the murder because they participated in a violent crime and Koffman was killed as a result of it, according to defense attorney James Blatt.

For months, the victim's family has said the defendants are innocent.

"There's two people outstanding. The cops don't care - they don't want to go get them. This needs more investigating. My boy is dead," Koffman's mother told Eyewitness News.

Under the plea deal, the two suspects and a third one, Dejae Middleton, pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and will serve four years in a juvenile detention center.

"By giving these kids a chance to go to juvenile custody rather than state prison, we've saved three lives today and that's a big deal," attorney Robert Sheahen said.

Koffman's friends and family said the plea deal is a far cry from justice. Koffman's step-father believes Middleton was involved in another person and that the pair were set up. Middleton did not comment on those allegations.

The official sentence will be handed down on Sept. 22.

Related Topics:
stabbingteenagersjuvenile crimecourtSherman OaksLos Angeles County
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