LOGAN — The attorney for one of the 16-year-old boys accused of shooting Deserae Turner said his client should not be tried as an adult and likely suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Shannon Demler said it would be in the best interest of the defendant if he be kept in the juvenile court system, because it would help him get the rehabilitation he needs.
Demler’s statements came during the beginning of a two-day hearing Monday in 1st District Court. He told Judge Angela Fonnesbeck that evidence in the case showed the boy did not shoot the 14-year-old Amalga girl, and that he never had possession of the suspected gun or had contact with the girl.
State attorney Spencer Walsh argued that it was the defendant who first voiced the idea to kill Turner after the co-defendant expressed being annoyed by her text messages and social media chats. He made his opening statement while showing the court a large photo of Turner, lying in a hospital bed.
The defendant’s mother testified about how the 16-year-old was a twin, born prematurely and weighing two pounds 12 ounces. She described how he had a hard time staying focused in school and turning in homework on time.
While being cross examined, she told the court how earlier this year her son attempted to break her arm during a fight.
Dr. Randall Oster, a clinical psychologist, later testified about evaluating the defendant, shortly after the shooting took place. He claimed, based on the tests, the boy was anti-social and showed ADHD characteristics. He was also viewed as a loner, who struggled with acceptance.
During cross examination, Dr. Oster admitted that his health evaluation didn’t help in showing the court whether the defendant was a danger to society.
Dr. Ronald Houston, a second clinical psychologist who did not evaluate the defendant but interviewed him for several hours after the alleged shooting, told the court he concurred with Dr. Oster’s evaluation.
After the defense rested their case, prosecutors called their first witness, Dr. Stephen Golding. He criticized both doctor’s findings, saying from their reports, they hadn’t done enough to diagnose the defendant and determine if he had ADHD.
The two teenage boys are charged with shooting Turner in the back of the head and leaving the girl in a ditch after robbing her. Prosecutors allege they originally planned to stab her with knives. After they arrived, the co-defendant instead used a gun he had brought and shot her. Both face six charges including attempted aggravated murder, attempted burglary and obstructing justice.
The hearing is expected to conclude Tuesday afternoon, when Judge Fonnesbeck will rule whether the defendant will be tried as an adult.
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