13-year-old accused of murder in Cumberland shooting will stay in juvenile court
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Marion County prosecutors have charged a 13-year-old boy with murder.
The young suspect is accused of shooting a 10-year-old to death in an apartment in Cumberland late last month.
Despite charging the 13-year-old with murder, prosecutors did not ask to move the case into adult court. That means the suspect will be tried as a juvenile, which will have a major impact on the way the case plays out.
The victim Anthony Harmon Jr. died after being shot in the upper chest.
“It was an accident. It was not intentional. That’s all I can say about it,” said the victim’s father Anthony Harmon Sr.
After the shooting, the victim’s sister and father did not want criminal charges to be filed against the 13-year-old shooter.
“I believe that somebody was playing a gun and it accidentally went off,” said the victim’s sister Lakesha Hamilton.
Still, prosecutors claim the 13-year-old suspect, who we are not naming, knowingly and intentionally killed the victim.
Keeping the case out of adult court means there won’t be a jury trial.
“There won’t be a jury of 12 that decides this case, there will be a judge who decides guilt or innocence,” said attorney John Tompkins.
Attorney Tompkins isn’t connected to the case but says juvenile court also includes a different standard of proof.
“In adult it’s beyond reasonable doubt. In juvenile court it’s a lower standard than beyond reasonable doubt,” said Tompkins.
If convicted of murder, the 13-year-old suspect could be incarcerated until he turns 21, but attorney Tompkins says juveniles tried as adults are way more likely to reoffend and the juvenile system works by offering assistance to kids to turn their lives around.
“There should never be perception that a person in the juvenile system is under punished,” said Tompkins. “The juvenile system and its resources makes for more safe outcomes for the whole society. That’s been proven over and over and over.”
Prosecutors refused to comment on whether anyone else, either adult or juvenile, will be charged with a crime.
The 13-year-old suspect is due in court on the murder charge later this month.