13-Year-Old To Be Tried As Adult For June 2022 Murder

Family Court Judge Cely Anne Brigman has granted the State’s motion to allow a defendant, who was 13-years-old at the time of the crime, to be tried as an adult for the June 2022 murder of a 15-year-old victim.
Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniel filed the motion in the days following the murder. “There is no joy in prosecuting anyone — much less a 13-year-old — for murder, but given the facts of this case and the gun violence we so often see, we felt this case needed to be handled in General Sessions Court rather than in juvenile court. We are grateful Judge Brigman agreed with our position.”
When a juvenile is charged with certain very serious crimes, like murder, the State can request a hearing in juvenile court wherein a family court judge hears from both the State and defense and rules whether the case is handled in adult court or remains in juvenile court.
During this hearing, the State must present evidence on a number of specific factors such as the severity of the crime, the adequacy of the potential sentences and the likelihood of rehabilitation of the defendant.
Daniel explained that if this murder case would have remained in juvenile court, the guidelines set by the Department of Juvenile Justice call for a sentence of 36-54 months should the defendant plead guilty or be found guilty after a trial. In adult court (or General Sessions Court), options such as murder (which carries a sentencing range of 30 years to life) or voluntary manslaughter (0 to 30 years) would apply.
“The statutory goal of juvenile court is rehabilitation,” explained Daniel. “The goal of adult court is punishment, deterrence and to some extent rehabilitation. We believe the facts of this case will prove a methodical, premeditated murder. And in my view, even though this defendant was only 13 years old, a sentence greater than 36-54 months is necessary.”
Daniel said he made the decision to file the motion after meeting with the victims’ families and law enforcement.
The shooting occurred on June 7, 2022 in the Bunker Hill community of Dillon County. The Dillon County Sheriff’s Department immediately responded and within a few hours had the juvenile in custody and had collected multiple witness statements and pieces of physical evidence, including spent shell casings and a firearm which is believed to be the weapon used in the shooting. Two 15-year-olds were shot in the incident, one of whom did not survive.
Daniel stressed that all people charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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