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Lawyer requests teen be released to group home

The attorney representing the 15-year-old student who allegedly assaulted his special education teacher is requesting the teen-ager be released from juvenile detention and placed in a group home.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office opposes the teen’s release, prosecutor’s office spokesman Dan Donohoe said.

“We don’t think it would be appropriate for him to be released back into the community,” he said. “He’s facing a very serious charge.”

A Jan. 4 detention hearing was stricken at the request of the teen’s public defender, Ken Henrickson. A new detention hearing has not been scheduled, Donohoe said.

A competency hearing has been set for Jan. 17, during which the court will review the results of the teen’s mental evaluation to determine if he is able to stand trial.

The 15-year-old remains in juvenile detention.

The teen was expelled from school after he allegedly attacked his teacher, Jennifer Panico-DiGiorgio, 25.

Panico-DiGiorgio was backing away from the teen after attempting to get him to do classwork when he grabbed her, slammed her head into a desk and began punching her, according to court documents.

School officials said a judge in California had found the teen to be a sex offender and “a mentally retarded person who is a danger to himself and others,” but said they only received oral reports that he once slapped a teacher.

Henrickson did not return phone calls to the Mirror.

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