Transfer hearing begins for second teen accused of shooting Deserae Turner

Judge Angela F. Fonnesbeck speaks to attorneys David Perry and Spncer Walsh during a hearing to determine if a teen charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Deserae Turner will be bound over to the adult court on Monday in Logan.

LOGAN — The hearing to determine if a second 16-year-old boy, accused of shooting Deserae Turner, should be tried as an adult began in 1st District Juvenile Court. The hearing started Monday afternoon, as attorneys for both sides gave their opening statements.

Defense attorney David Perry said the court should keep the defendant in the juvenile system, citing that the teen had no prior criminal history except for a truancy offense, and also no history of violence. He explained that during the two-day hearing the defendant’s family members and friends would be called to testify about his character.

State attorney Spencer Walsh said the defendant should be tried as an adult. He described how the teenager and his friend hatched the plot to kill the 14-year-old Amalga girl, after becoming annoyed with her texts and social media messaging. Walsh said investigators later found the defendant had researched serial killers, and viewed videos of assassinations and violent pornography on the internet.

Dr. Doctor Matthew Davies, a psychologist who interviewed the defendant, testified that the teenager showed signs of being socially isolated. He also appeared to struggle academically and got bored with school about the same time his father was diagnosed with cancer. Davies cited several studies showing that youth in adult prisons are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted and two times more likely to be physically assaulted. He concluded that the defendant posed a low-risk to the community and would be better treated in the juvenile court system.

During cross-examination, Walsh questioned how Davies could claim the defendant was not a threat, considering the crimes allegedly committed.

Perry later called Dax Paz, a former inmate who testified about life in prison when he was a juvenile. Paz said it was like being a minnow, thrown into a shark tank. He described how there were physical and sexual assaults in prison that never were reported.

The final two witnesses for the day included a neighbor who lived next to the defendant’s home and a girl who had been his friend since they were four.

The defendant never spoke during Monday’s testimony as he sat next to Perry, wearing handcuffs and shackles.

The hearing came hours after Judge Angela Fonnesbeck ruled that the co-defendant in the case would be tried as an adult. Both boys are charged with attempted aggravated murder, attempted burglary and obstructing justice.

The hearing is expected to conclude Tuesday afternoon.

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