LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A 13-year-old boy convicted of beating his friend to death with a baseball bat was sentenced Thursday to a youth detention facility until he is 25 years old, although he could be paroled before then.
"Watching my son die in front of my face was devastating," the victim's father, Brian Rourke, told the court. "My son, Jeremy (Rourke), was killed for teasing another kid."
Rourke said he and his son were "best friends."
The convicted teen, whose name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, was found guilty of second-degree murder after beating Rourke in the knee and head with an aluminum bat after a youth game.
The young teen's feet were shackled during the disposition hearing, and he sat quietly.
Superior Court Judge Richard Naranjo imposed the maximum sentence. Under California law, children under 14 cannot be tried as adults. The hearing was open to the media.
The attack followed an argument after a Pony League baseball game in Palmdale, California, about 40 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The suspect was described as a well-liked boy with no criminal record.
Defense attorney William McKinney argued that Rourke was relentlessly bullying the younger boy before the attack, and said his client had merely taken "the wrong path."
However, prosecutors contended the older boy was merely teasing him.
"We cannot take the chance in the future that he will display that behavior," said prosecutor Lonnie Felk.
Witnesses said the 13-year-old's team had just lost its first game of the season, and he was getting in line at a snack bar when he and Rourke got into some sort of scuffle. Some witnesses said there was a dispute between the teens over their place in line; others said Rourke teased the suspect over the loss.
A psychologist described the younger boy as "well-socialized," a good student and "compliant with authority."
Baseball coach Allen McBroom, who has known the convicted teen for five years, fought back tears as he said the child was the kind of polite boy he liked his son to pal around with.