A week after getting released from jail after allegedly robbing a man of his iPod—and two months after getting busted for allegedly dealing crack—16-year-old Steven Mercado is back in the slammer, and he's not getting bailed out. The Daily News has the story on Mercado's biological aunt Debbie Earhart, who's raised him since birth and is his legal guardian and "mom." Earhart tells the News she won't post the teen's $3,000 cash bail, even though he called her from Riker's to tell her that a Trinitario gang threatened to choke the life out of him.

Both of Mercado's parents have been in and out of prison, and absent from his life. "He needs to be in a program, he needs therapy," Earhart tells the News. "He has ADHD and behavioral problems—he's afraid." But apparently he's not afraid enough; at his last arraignment June 29th, Acting Supreme Court Justice William Mogulescu told the teen, "They'll eat you alive in state prison... Your mom is tired of seeing you locked up—do you think she likes sitting here?" A week later he was back in jail for allegedly kicking a man in the ribs and stealing his iPod, along with five other "unapprehended males."

But though Earhart is taking a tough love approach on the bail, she thinks the punishment Mercado faces is too stiff. "There are people that commit murders and only go away for eight or nine years," Earhart asks. "Why is he looking at 15?" That's simple—he wasn't behind the wheel of a car when he committed the alleged crimes.