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Lahi pleads guilty to YSI felony assault

By Staff | Jul 27, 2009

A former Elmore Academy YSI student could be sentenced soon after pleading guilty to felony assault in Faribault County District Court on Monday.

Phillip Edward Lahi, 18, was charged with third-degree assault after allegedly choking another student until he was unconscious.

While on the stand, Lahi admitted putting a “sleeper hold” on a 14-year-old boy who was wandering around their dorm room and bothering him.

According to a court complaint, the incident occurred June 18 at Unity Hall after the lights had been turned off for the night.

The complaint says the boy sustained a small scratch on his right outer chest area. Staff members determined he did not require medical treatment.

Lahi, who is originally from New Mexico, had been at YSI for seven months.

When questioned by defense attorney Troy Timmerman, Lahi told court officials he has been on federal probation since the age of 16.

Lahi says he understood that being convicted of third-degree assault is a violation of his federal probation conditions.

“There may be other probation conditions as a result of your plea,” Judge Douglas Richards told Lahi.

Jesse Williams, senior vice president of operations for YSI, says “it’s highly unlikely” Lahi will return to the Elmore facility.

“His commitment to YSI was rescinded when he was charged. We no longer have jurisdiction over him,” says Williams.

A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered and Richards says it could be completed within the next 30 days.

Lahi is being held in the county jail and bail has been set at a $10,000 bond.

Third-degree assault carries a maximum penalty of five years and a $10,000 fine.