The 17-year-old who was beaten to death at a school founded by LeBron James suffered a broken neck and had the imprint of a shoe in his chest wall, a preliminary autopsy report has revealed.
The report released by the Summit County Medical Examiner (SCME) in Ohio documented the gruesome injuries Ethan Liming endured during his final moments in the parking lot of the I Promise school in Akron. The report also revealed blunt force trauma to the head.
Amy Schaefer, one of the investigators at the SCME office told DailyMail.com she was unable to provide further details on the case.
‘The investigation is still going on. The autopsy results and the death certificate are pending and have not yet been finalized and could take several weeks,’ Schaefer said.
The preliminary autopsy also indicated that Liming had a black eye and a head laceration. A shattered cell phone was also found near Liming’s body, the news outlet reported.
Ethan Liming, 17, was beaten to death on June 2 on the grounds of I Promise School (IPS), a school founded by LeBron James in 2018 for at-risk children
On June 11, Donovon Jones, 21, and brothers Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20, and Tyler Stafford, 19, were arrested by US Marshals and Akron police officers in Liming’s death, authorities said.
On June 13, they pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in Akron Municipal Court.
They have all been charged with murder and felonious assault, an Akron Municipal Court clerk told DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
They are being held on $1 million bond at the Summit County Jail.
Brothers Tyler Stafford, 19, and DeShawn Stafford, Jr. 20, are charged with murder and felonious assault in the beating death of 17-year-old high school student, Ethan Liming
Donovan Jones, 21, has been charged with murder and felonious assault, an Akron Municipal Court. He is being held at the Summit County Jail and has a $1million bond
The heinous act took place on June 2 when Liming, along with several friends, reportedly began shooting a water gel gun at people playing basketball near the I Promise School.
The school was founded by LeBron James in 2018 for at-risk kids.
Liming was found lying unresponsive on his back after the vicious attack.
One of victims friends frantically called 911 around 10:42 pm, according to the Akron school.
‘We’re at the I Promise school in Akron, Ohio,’ the caller told a 911 dispatcher. ‘Our friend just got knocked out. We don’t know what to do.’
Liming died shortly after from the injuries he sustained in the fatal beating.
Twenty-one year old Donovon Jones, Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20, and Tyler Stafford, 19, were arrested by US Marshals in connection with Liming’s death, authorities said.
An affidavit revealed that the suspects ‘beat Liming until he was unconscious’ and ‘then beat him more’ while ‘he was unconscious on the ground,’ Fox News reported.
During the distressing 911 calls the dispatcher asks the caller if the fight was still taking place as the caller speaks to other people around him.
The phone call eventually picks up on the voice of another man who is heard saying: ‘Hey man. We’re sorry man. We didn’t meaning too,’ according to an audio recording of the call.
The operator then reiterates her question on the fight for clarification, of which the victim’s friend answers that ‘there was’ one.
‘It’s OK, though,’ he added. ‘It’s cool now. It’s cool now.’
Ethan Liming, 17, of Akron was beaten to death after he and his friends shot at a group of men on a basketball court with a toy water gun on June 2
When asked if Liming was still breathing at the time, the 911 caller answered: ‘Yeah, he’s breathing. He’s breathing.’
The operator then asks for Liming’s age but the phone call is cut out several times. Background noise can also be heard, of which someone says: ‘I’m not trying to fight, though.’
The 911 caller finally reveals over the call that Liming is 17 years old before he ends the conversation there, leaving the dispatcher hanging.
It remains unclear if the fight was still going on at the time when the 911 call was made. DailyMail.com has contacted the Akron Police Department for comment on the 911 call’s audio recording.
Liming and a group of friends were joy-riding in a car and apparently provoked the fight with the three men by shooting at them with a plastic Splatrball Water Bead Blaster.
Deshawn and Tyler Stafford, who live together in the 500 block of North Howard Street in Akron, Ohio, were arrested by the Marshals and police. Jones was captured separately in the 200 block of Crosby Street, also in Akron.
Deshawn Stafford, 20, top left, Tyler Stafford, 19, top right, and Donovon Jones, 21, bottom left, were arrested in beating Liming to death on June 2
Police said Liming was riding around with his friends when one or two of them reportedly used this Splatrball Water Bead Blaster and shot a group of males which led to the fight
The fight between the men and Liming began when the boys were riding around in a car on the night of June 2 with the toy gun. One of the boys reportedly shot at the basketball court where the three men were playing a game with others.
The shooting caused some on the court to run away and, according to the chief, the boys chased after them temporarily. The boys went back to their car at which time they were confronted by the three men.
‘A fight ensues and subsequently, Ethan Liming is dead,’ the chief said at a press conference.
The dead boy’s father, Bill Liming, said that his son was sucker punched during the fight and suggested his death emerged out of the racial animosity prevalent in today’s culture.
‘He was fighting back for his life,’ the dad said. ‘A third individual came up behind him and overwhelmed him. And they knocked him out on the ground. His friends tried to help him.’
He said his friends unsuccessfully tried to drive the other group away.
‘My son Ethan Liming was murdered by three African American males and a female who stood by and did nothing,’ Bill Liming said.
‘We live in a sick world. People look at each other based on the color of skin or the fact somebody disagrees with somebody else. And because you disagree with me you must be evil,’ he said.
Bill Liming continued: ‘And we have so dehumanized each other in our society, that’s why my son was murdered. Some people looked at him as somebody whose life didn’t matter. And it just breaks our hearts. And we don’t want this to happen to anybody else’s child.’
After the arrests, Jennifer Liming, the boy’s mother told the Akron Beacon Journal that she hopes that her son’s death will cause people to think before they react to anger.
‘I just hope when people are feeling angry at somebody for something they did to them, they just take a breath and think for a second. Think about my son,’ she told the paper.
Liming was found unresponsive in a park lot of I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, more than two weeks ago, near the basketball courts
Police have said that the death was not racially motivated and that the boys ‘unfortunately provoked the altercation.’
‘There were assumptions made that this was a race-related incident,’ the police chief said at the presser. ‘There is nothing that we have in our possession right now, any information at all, indicating that race played a role in this homicide.
‘If we do receive information that race played a role in this, as in any homicide, we will consult with our prosecuting attorneys and add additional charges.’
The Marshals Service vowed to continue to help police on the case as a proper motive is still not yet known.
‘The U.S. Marshals Service will continue to provide all necessary resources to help our partners at the Akron Police Department to combat violent crime,’ U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said. ‘This crime impacted an entire community and we stand alongside the community in seeking justice for Ethan.’
Basketball star LeBron James asked his 51 million followers on Twitter to ‘pray for our community’ the day following Liming’s death on the campus of his I Promise School
Liming, who was buried June 17, did not attend the I Promise school.
He would have been a senior next year at the Firestone High School where he played football, basketball and baseball, according to his obituary.
‘He was a loyal friend, always helping those in need,’ the memorial said. ‘Ethan didn’t care about the color of your skin or the money in your pocket – he cared about what was in your heart.’
After the death, the LeBron James Family Foundation shared the following statement on social media expressing condolences:
‘Our community is everything to us. We were devastated to learn of the overnight incident that saw a life lost near our school. We are grieving with our community over another senseless act of violence. Our campus is safe and secure as we continue to do everything we can to support our students, families, and the entire Akron community.’
LeBron did not comment on social media after the arrests.
Liming’s family and friends gathered on June 17, two days ago, to remember the teen
Friends and family paid tribute to the teen on social media. Pictured: Liming in a high school football uniform with a friend
A memorial site for Liming was shared on social media, where a sign that reads ‘Justice 4 Ethan’ was laid
Akron Public Schools Superintendent Christine Fowler Mack sent an email faculty and staff the day after the incident that read:
‘Our Akron Public Schools family expresses its deepest condolences and offers its prayers to the family and friends of a student who lost his life last night. We mourn as one for Ethan Liming, a 17-year-old rising senior at Firestone Community Learning Center. Ethan was a student leader at his school and was in the Academy of Design there.
‘The death of a student affects all of Akron Public Schools. Ethan’s passing is, sadly, one of many we have experienced during this school year. May we all pause a moment from our daily pressures to give thanks for the lives of these children. May we forever find ways to keep our memories of them alive. Each of these losses reminds us about how precious, and sometimes fleeting, life can be.
‘Our crisis team is assisting staff at Firestone CLC and, as always, will make themselves available to students.’