ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Seven months after being beaten, a St. Louis man has died. Now prosecutors are moving to increase charges against two teens that were arrested in the case.
Lewis Rice, 46, was beaten so badly during a robbery on February 23 that he never regained consciousness in the hospital. He died Monday at Hillside Manor Healthcare, a rehab center he’d been since leaving Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Authorities have classified Rice’s death as a homicide and prosecutors plan to upgrade charges against the two accused attackers, Deshawn Owens and Donald Cotton, who were 16 and 15 years old at the time.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Janet Joyce said they are calling Rice's death a case of the "knock-out game."
According to court documents, Rice was walking in the 4200 block of West Finney Avenue around 7 p.m. when Owens and Cotton approached and punched and kicked him several times. The two suspects then went through Rice’s pockets trying to rob him, police said.
The suspects ran off but were eventually detained and charged with assault and attempted robbery. A judge later decided they were fit to stand trial as adults.
Authorities on Thursday said they were aware of Rice’s death and would immediately seek to upgrade the charges.