Ethan Liming fractured his skull in a fight at LeBron James’ I Promise School
The teenager, who was beaten to death in a brawl outside an Ohio high school earlier this month, suffered a fractured skull in the brutal attack, a report said.
An autopsy also revealed a shoeprint on the chest of Ethan Liming, who was fatally beaten June 2 in the parking lot of LeBron James-founded I Promise School in Akron, the Akron Beacon Journal reported last week.
Liming, 17, died of blunt force trauma, a coroner reportedly ruled.
Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20, Tyler Stafford, 19, and Donovan Jones, 21, have been arrested in connection with the murder, which allegedly began after Liming and his three friends played with a high-tech water gun and shot the suspects who were playing basketball.
Liming was left dead after a three-on-four scuffle ensued after the water gun attack, police said.
Police found Liming lying on his back with a black eye bleeding from his head, nose, mouth and ears, the newspaper said, citing preliminary coroner reports.
An autopsy reportedly revealed the teen’s occipital bone – which forms the base of the human skull and is connected to the spinal cord – was fractured.
The occipital fracture was the only broken bone in Liming’s body, and medical reports didn’t say whether he died from that trauma or his other injuries, the outlet said.
A defense attorney for one of the suspects reportedly claimed that Liming could have been rendered unconscious by a single blow, saying that hitting the concrete could be responsible for his fractured skull.
All three suspects have pleaded not guilty to the assault and murder and have been held on $1 million bail.
Lawyers for the accused killers said they thought they were being attacked by a “fully automatic firearm,” not the teen’s $68 “SplatRBall” pistol, which shoots out beads of water that explode when they hit a target.
The ambush may have been inspired by TikTok’s viral Orbeez Challenge, in which teenagers film themselves with toy guns firing water gel beads at unsuspecting bystanders, the newspaper said.
A final autopsy report should take weeks, according to the newspaper.