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Brothers get house arrest in hate crime

Two white teenagers who shot a black man in the neck with a dart have been sentenced to two years of house arrest and ordered to write apologies to the black community.

Brothers Jason Kovalcin, 18, and Andrew Kovalcin, 16, pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated battery involving a hate crime, conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and carrying an unlawful driver's license.

At the hearing, the brothers apologized to Edward Chapman, an unemployed vegetable picker. The teens shot Chapman with a 3-inch dart from a blowgun in March as he rode his bicycle in Pompano Beach about 4 a.m.

Chapman, 54, said one of the Kovalcin teens shouted a racial slur as they sped by in a red Mercedes.

"If there's anything I can do to make amends, I'll do it," Jason Kovalcin told Chapman. "It was a very poor decision on my part."

Chapman said the teens deserved a second chance and he didn't want them to do prison time.

Circuit Judge Paul Backman sentenced the brothers to two years of house arrest, with one year to be monitored electronically. He also sentenced them to four years of probation.

The teens will have to perform 200 hours of community service with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and undergo random testing for alcohol and drugs.

Backman suspended Andrew Kovalcin's driver's license for four years and required the teen to maintain a B average. Jason Kovalcin's license was suspended for two years and he has to work toward graduation.

"This is harder than going to prison, and if you violate any of these conditions you will go to prison for six years," Backman told the brothers.

Charges are pending against a third teen charged in the attack, 18-year-old Christian Heinsler. A fourth teen was not charged.

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