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Beaten Youngster Waking From Coma

Sat., March 29, 1997

The 13-year-old victim of a beating that police called racially motivated is emerging from a coma and was moved to a rehabilitation hospital Friday.

Lenard Clark will spend at least six weeks at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, then continue as an outpatient, said pediatrician Lisa Thornton.

“We’re talking at least six months for recovery, possibly years,” she said at a news conference. “Brain recovery takes a long time.”

Lenard was attacked March 21 in the mostly white Bridgeport neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. His head was slammed into a building and he was kicked repeatedly before being left unconscious in an alley.

He began showing signs of recovery Tuesday. He opens his eyes, moves his arms and legs, makes grunting noises and seems soothed by his mother’s voice, Thornton said.

The suspects, who are white, are accused of targeting Lenard because he is black. Frank Caruso, 18, Michael Kwidzinski, 19, and Victor Jasas, 17, each are charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and committing a hate crime.

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