17-year-old accused of Indianapolis mass murder to be charged in adult court

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INDIANAPOLIS––A 17-year-old suspect remains in custody awaiting formal charges of murder following the mass killing on Adams.

Police believe the suspect was upset with his father and committed mass murder over the weekend.

According to a police report, the suspect got in trouble for leaving home the night before, setting off the deadly shooting that claimed six lives.

The underage suspect now awaits a hearing before a Marion County judge in adult court.

Even though the suspect is a juvenile, the case will not go before a judge in juvenile court.

“With a 17-year-old charged with murder, the juvenile court has no jurisdiction. The adult court has jurisdiction, so they will charge him directly there,” said attorney Ralph Staples.

While attorney Staples isn’t connected to the case, he says Indiana law that clearly defines how the case will be prosecuted.

“Of course when you’re 18 you’re an adult, but that 16 to 18 range gives the prosecutor some latitude in terms of punishment, but not in terms of charging,” said Staples.

Despite the horrific nature of the violence, the age of the suspect means the death penalty is off the table.

“He cannot be subjected to capital punishment, but the state could seek life without the possibility of parole,” said Staples.

“When you look at the range of punishment, the death penalty is not an option for a 17-year-old.  That is not permitted by Indiana law,” said prosecutor Ryan Mears.

Prosecutor Mears adds that when murder charges involve 17-year-old defendants, the defense can ask that the case be moved out of adult court, but in a case with multiple victims that remains unlikely.

“It’s going to start in adult court and there’s an opportunity to bring it back to juvenile court, but it’s going to start in adult court,” said Mears.

The prosecutor expects to file formal charges sometime before Friday.

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