Jerome Lee pleads 'not guilty' in October 2013 hit-skip death of 5-year-old Israel Thornton

CLEVELAND - Jerome Lee, the suspect in 5-year-old Israel Thornton's October 2013 hit-skip death, has pleaded "not guilty" to those charges in court Wednesday.

Police found Lee after a Crimestoppers tip led them to the 24-year-old, who was already in jail on theft charges .

He has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and felony hit-skip.

Thornton was walking to school when he was struck by an SUV on Denison Avenue at West 37th Street just before 7:20 a.m. on October 25. The driver did not stop.

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According to court records, Lee posted bond October 3, 2013. He had a pretrial hearing October 24, 2013 the day before Thornton was struck and killed. 

Thornton's family will celebrate his sixth birthday on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Emory Park on West 130th. The celebration is set to begin in the Cleveland park at 3 p.m.

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