LOGAN — The second juvenile suspected of shooting Deserae Turner was bound over for trial Wednesday, ordered to face all six charges including attempted aggravated murder, attempted burglary and obstructing justice. The judge’s ruling came in 1st District Court just before the victim’s father issued a statement from the family on the Amalga girl’s condition.
Cache County Attorney James Swink told the court that the second defendant, a 16-year-old boy from Hyde Park, was also part of the plan to kill Turner. He explained that he and the other co-defendant, the 16-year-old Smithfield boy, plotted and premeditated months in advance, to murder the 14-year-old girl along a canal, east of Sky View on February 16.
Defense attorney Shannon Demler admitted that the shooting was a terrible tragedy in the community but claimed the second defendant was not involved. He said prosecutors lacked the evidence to tie the Hyde Park teen to the crimes.
During a press conference after the hearing, Swink explained that even though the second suspect was an accomplice, the evidence showed he was integral in the planning and shooting of the girl.
“The law states when you encourage, aid, or assist in any way a person committing a crime, you have the same culpability, and under the law you can be charged with that same crime,” said Swink.
Prosecutors called the same witnesses as Tuesday’s hearing for the first defendant, but focused more of the testimony on how the Hyde Park teen was involved.
Logan City Police officer Andrew Soelberg testified about a data extraction he did on a cell phone, belonging to a friend of Turners. It included texts between the two, minutes before she was shot. In one of the messages, she said, “I’m getting picked on by [both suspect’s names]. She later texted, “ha ha they want to fight.”
Logan City Police investigator Matt Woods testified how the defendant changed his story as police started focusing on the two teen boys. Woods said the Hyde Park teen originally claimed he hadn’t seen Turner in five months. He also stated that he was in the first defendant’s Smithfield bedroom, playing video games when the shooting allegedly took place.
Woods told the court, later the defendant became angry and confrontational, “flipping off” the camera, swearing and throwing a cup of water at him. He then admitted to being at the canal when the first defendant shot Turner.
Woods, who interviewed both defendants said the Hyde Park teen showed only anger during interrogation, while the Smithfield juvenile, the alleged gunman, was crying and very emotional.
Cache County Sheriff’s detective Brian Groves, who primarily interviewed the first defendant, told the court that the boys plotted to kill Turner while playing video games, because they grew annoyed with her snapchatting and texting the 16-year-old Smithfield teen. He testified that the second defendant allegedly came up with the plan to slit her throat with a knife.
Groves told the court, the first defendant who is believed to have had the .22 cal revolver in his left pocket, said both he and the second defendant went to the canal with knives. The Hyde Park teen acted as a lookout, giving a “nod” when the area was clear for the first defendant to shoot Turner. The second defendant also told the girl he had lost a ring along the canal bank as a ruse, to keep her from leaving.
Smithfield City Police detective Brandon Muir said investigators found footprints in the mud along the canal, matching the Hyde Park teen’s shoes.
Prosecutors also played a video again, recorded by Muir in Turner’s hospital room a week-and-a-half ago. In it, the 14-year-old talked about meeting the two suspects at the edge of the canal and looking for the ring.
Muir later produced the alleged ring, saying the second suspect was wearing it when he was arrested. The metal ring, with a spinning band, matched the one Turner had told investigators and her family about.
Throughout the hearing Demler argued there was still no evidence that his client contacted Turner or pulled the trigger. He also alleged that the boy might have changed his story to police because investigators also became aggressive with him during their interviews.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said between the phone extractions, code words, nods, statements about the ring, stealing of Turner’s belongings, and the multiple lies, they called into question the truthfulness of the defendant. She ruled that the evidence prosecutors presented showed probable cause that the crimes were committed.
She ordered the defendant to remain in the Juvenile Detention Center and rescheduled a Best Interest Hearing for May 1-2, when it will be determined if the defendant is tried as an adult.
During the press conference afterwards, Swink said he still believes this was a heinous crime committed by both defendants.
“It’s one that is supported by state law that says, it will be charged by way of information and then the juvenile court judge, in this case Judge Fonnesbeck, will determine whether or not to keep them in the juvenile court system or to move them onto the adult system.”
Tuesday, the first defendant was also ordered to be bound over to stand trial on the same charges. He will next appear in court May 8-9.
Also during the press conference, Matt Turner issued a statement and update on his daughter’s condition. He said the prayers of many people have been answered.
“She has undergone a tough surgery and continues to fight for the ability to complete daily tasks many of us take for granted,” explained Turner.
“As of today, she has been admitted to Inpatient Rehab Services and will continue to undergo intensive therapies.”
Turner expressed gratitude for the love, support and prayers, for all of the families impacted by the shooting. He also said they appreciated the continued respect of their privacy.
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