Family demands justice in teen homicide case

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif.

Action News is not identifying the 17-year-old who will soon be released from juvenile detention, since he is a minor. But the family of Mason Stokes -- the boy who was killed -- says they've been told there is not enough evidence to put the teen on trial for murder.

Family and friends of Mason Stokes spent hours protesting outside the Juvenile Justice Center on Saturday. "I just hope and pray some justice gets served here. I can't even describe the loss, he was my only son," said Mason's father Tim Stokes.

The group held signs that read "R.I.P. Mason" and "Justice for Mason."

Tawnia Smith, Stokes' mother, says investigators told her the teen she believes killed her son will not, at this time, face charges related to her son's death. "They're not pursuing it as of right now, hopefully if they gather more evidence, people need to speak out."

Stokes, the family says, was stabbed during a Halloween party at a Central Fresno house the morning of October 30th. More than 50 people had gathered for the party. At the time, police said the fight that lead to the stabbing was between rival tagging gangs.

Tim Stokes says his son was not part of either gang. "He did have his share of troubles, you know. But that has nothing to do with the fact that he was stabbed and murdered at this party."

Stokes was a senior at De Wolf High School with plans to attend Fresno City College next fall.

"The only thing that can make it better is knowing that this guy is locked up where he should be," said Stokes' sister Lyndi Starr.

Saturday night Fresno Police said the homicide investigation is still open. In an email we were told the teen is being released from the detention center here based on his probation status.

The family says they will protest again on Sunday.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.