Exclusive: Teen Speaks About Single Punch That Killed Classmate
A surveillance camera captured a fight between two high school teens. A punch was thrown and one teen was knocked to the floor. He lay motionless as the other teen walked away.
Greg Teer was in big trouble.
INSIDE EDITION’s Steven Fabian asked, “Could you tell something was wrong when he hit the ground? What was going through your mind?”
Teer said, “I’m in trouble and he's still on the ground.”
You would hope that the kid on the ground would be able to just shake it off, but there he laid and he wasn't getting up.
The fight erupted at an Iowa high school. Investigators say it was triggered by an exchange of angry Facebook messages between the two boys.
Seventeen-year-old Dakota Escritt accused Greg, a popular jock, of picking on a friend of his.
Fabian asked, “What happened from there?”
Greg said, “Went up the stairs and talked to my friends.”
Surveillance video from the common area of Abraham Lincoln High School showed Greg and Dakota getting into a confrontation.
Greg said, “He came up to me and was like, argumentative with me. Pushing me. I tried to walk away. He kept on it, kept on it.”
Greg was shoved again and that's when he shoved back.
“I was defending myself,” he said.
A second camera angle showed Greg throwing that single punch. That's when Dakota fell back, hitting the floor, hard.
Fabian asked, “Did you intend to kill him?”
“Definitely not, no 16-year-old intends to kill somebody,” said Greg.
Dakota was still alive when he was rushed to the hospital. His grandmother, Judy Smith, held his hand.
Smith recalled, “He was screaming the back of his head was hurting.”
Three days later, Dakota Escritt was dead. The autopsy determined that he died from his head hitting the hard floor. Greg heard the news from his mom, Julie.
She said, “I sat him down and we talked about it. He cried. He was worried. He asked me, 'What happens now?'”
The question was, would Greg face criminal charges?
His mother said, “If you just knew him, you would know that he didn't mean for this to happen.”
Then came a stunning announcement from prosecutor Matt Wilber who stated, “I find that Greg Teer was legally justified in the force that was used. We will not be pursuing criminal charges.”
But the drama didn't end there. Another angry mom said her son was bullied by Greg. She wore a shirt that read, "In Memory of Dakota Escritt."
She said, “I had heard of this kid bullying other people before, but he's a jock at the school and they have a different set of rules and they always have.”
Fabian asked Greg, “We've heard from some other people that you bullied other students. Are you are a bully?”
“I'm not a bully,” he said.
Dakota's grieving loved ones accept that his death was a tragic accident and yet, they feel justice was not done.
His father Josh Escritt said, “He gets to walk and live the rest of his life knowing that he got away with killing my kid.”
Greg said, “I feel horrible. I’m sorry it happened this way and that it ended this way.”
Though the charges against Greg were dropped, he was transferred to a different school. He's now fighting to go back to his old school.