One of the two pre-teen boys charged with dropping a shopping cart over a fourth-story railing in New York City -- nearly killing a philanthropist who was shopping for underprivileged kids -- could be sentenced to as little as probation after pleading guilty to felony assault Friday.

"I held the shopping cart over and I knew people was down there," the 12-year-old said, admitting his guilt before Family Court Judge Susan Larabee.

"And I knew somebody could have gotten hurt."

Prosecutors said that victim Marion Hedges remains in serious condition from being struck by the cart. Hedges' family agrees with the deal, they said.

The 47-year-old Manhattan real estate agent had just bought Halloween candy in bulk from the nearby Costco. Her 13-year-old son was with her and watched in horror as his mom was struck down by the plummeting cart.

The boy faces a sentence ranging from probation to up to 18 months in a state juvenile jail. His next court appearance was scheduled for Dec. 6.

"I may well return him to the community on the next court date," the judge said. She denied a request by the boy's family to free him immediately, pending his sentence. The boy turns 13 on Saturday.

The second boy also remains jailed. He is set to either make a similar plea or go to trial when he returns to court Nov. 23.

"Today my client did the responsible thing and [pleaded] guilty," said his lawyer, Shahabuddeen Ally. "He took ownership of his actions. The goal is to get him back into the community."

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