SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A judge sentenced a 16-year-old to 64 years in prison for the murder of a 6-year-old girl in northern Indiana.
Anthony Hutchens was tried as an adult, although the crime was committed when he was 14 years old. St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Sanford found him guilty of murder and child molesting during a bench trial in January.
Sanford sentenced Hutchens to 55 years for murder and 9 years on the child molesting count, with the sentence to be served consecutively. Hutchens has already served 748 days.
Upon release, he’ll be required to register as a sex offender.
In March 2021, 6-year-old Grace Ross was found dead in a wooded area near her home in New Carlisle. The little girl had been strangled and suffered blunt force trauma injuries. She had also been molested, investigators said.
Her body was found about two hours after she had been reported missing. Investigators zeroed in on Hutchens as a suspect early in the investigation, although he was not initially named because he was a juvenile.
Sanford ordered Hutchens to be held in a juvenile detention facility until between his 18th and 21st birthdays. According to the South Bend Tribune, his case and sentence will then be reevaluated.
Hutchens’ lawyer planned to appeal the conviction, saying the case, which bounced between juvenile and adult court, should have been tried at the juvenile level.