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Kick Stop

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The last defendant, Michael Barychko, says he caved under police pressure and admitted to kicking Nguyen when he actually had only nudged the young man's still body with his foot, to see if he was OK. On the stand, Barychko looked straight at Luyen Nguyen's mother and said that another youth, Dave Michaelson, kicked her son in the head as he lay on the ground, helpless. Barychko had told police the same thing years earlier, but Michaelson was never criminally charged. Barychko was convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He served several years probation in lieu of jail time. In 1997, a jury found him not liable in a negligent death suit brought by the Nguyens. The young man he had fingered as possibly dealing the lethal blow, Dave Michaelson, settled a civil suit with the Nguyens for $100,000.

Barychko, now 34, still insists that he witnessed the killing blow. "I saw a kid lying on the grass, and people running from the body. I tapped him on the back to see if he was moving. I said, 'Hello? Are you OK? Hello?' I was standing over him when Dave Michaelson kicked him in the head. I said, 'What did you do that for?'"

Michaelson could not be reached to comment for this story.

Witnesses pegged the number of attackers at perhaps a dozen. "Today I still believe that there were others involved," says Magrino, the prosecutor. "Were we successful in getting the main players? Yes... If you see a wrong, you right it. Otherwise you become a part of it."

Barychko says the police investigation was a clumsy witch hunt. Teens vouched for their friends and accused others that they didn't like, he says. "Justice wasn't done."

Brad Mills agrees. "This is Coral Springs: big money," he says. "Police had to make a move. I don't believe they cared one bit about getting the right people."

"What happened to [Nguyen] is terrible. For real, it is," Mills continues. "If I could change any of that, I would. But when you take him as a victim, and you victimize other people as well... How can I feel that bad when I've lost my life, too?"

Today, Chris Anderson and Terry Jamerson maintain lawns in South Florida. Brad Mills is due for release in early 2018, when he'll be 44.

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Amy Guthrie
Contact: Amy Guthrie