Thomas White IV drew gasps and looks of horror from hundreds of Sandalwood High School students as he was led onto an auditorium stage in handcuffs and leg shackles.

The story the 19-year-old told then left some of the youngsters shaken.

Two years ago, White and Edgar David Baez were students at Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, about 12 miles south of Jacksonville. They began arguing over a girl, first in e-mails and then in hallway confrontations.

After the final bell rang on Sept. 12, 2003, White ran up to Baez outside the school and delivered a single punch to the 15-year-old's head. Baez fell to the ground and never got up.

With the approval of the Baez family, White was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and battery and was sentenced to spend the next two years in the county jail. The sentence included 13 years probation and 100 hours of community service speaking to north Florida students about school violence.

The soft-spoken White told Sandalwood students he didn't intend to kill Baez and was surprised when the boy didn't get up.

"I just thought he was knocked out," White said. "It was a mistake."

White was joined by assistant state attorneys Gary Crews and Ray Carlson at the recent appearance.

"One punch folks, one punch. He didn't mean to kill anybody," Carlson said.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/loc...a-news-florida