An Indiana boy who as a 12-year-old was convicted as an adult …
An Indiana boy who as a 12-year-old was convicted as an adult …
Paul Gingerich's attorneys argued Tuesday that statements …
A judge accepted Colt Lundy's plea deal Monday and sentenced …
A 12-year-old boy will spend six years in a juvenile detention …
Chase Williams, a 12-year-old boy who was charged with Aiding …
At a nearly two hour waiver hearing in Kosciusko County …
A 15-year-old and 12-year-old are both charged murder in the …
A 12-year-old and a 15-year-old are facing murder charges in …
Updated: Friday, 30 Apr 2010, 8:50 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 29 Apr 2010, 4:10 PM EDT
KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) - At a nearly two hour waiver hearing in Kosciusko County Superior Court Thursday afternoon, Colt Lundy,15, and Paul Gingerich, 12, learned they will face murder charges related to the shooting death of Phillip Danner in adult court.
"Obviously we're upset about the judge's decision. It's likely we'll appeal it, but we have to let the case proceed from here and live with the judge's decision for now," John Barrett, Lundy's attorney, said.
Danner, 49, was Lundy's stepfather. He was found dead in his home at 9219 E. Doswell Blvd. in Cromwell the morning of April 21. Police said he was shot multiple times: once in the eye, once in the wrist and twice in the chest. Police testimony said the boys had planned for weeks kill Danner and go to Arizona to sell T-shirts to "drug people."
New police testimony Thursday said Lundy and Gingerich each fired two shots at Danner. Kosciusko County Detective Jonathan Tyler testified Lundy talked about his plan to kill Danner with several boys on a playground in their neighborhood on April 20. Lundy then went back to his home and got Danner's revolver and semi-automatic handgun.
After Lundy gave a signal, Gingerich, Chase Williams, 12, and another boy whose identity police are not releasing, came into the Lundy house. Tyler said Gingerich went into the home through Lundy's bedroom window and Lundy gave Gingerich the handgun. Tyler continued saying Lundy and Gingerich then went into the living room and sat on the couch and a chair waiting for Danner to come to the doorway between the kitchen and living room. When Danner did, Tyler said both boys fired two shots.
After they fired the guns, Tyler said Lundy and Gingerich went to the front door where Williams was outside to show him what had happened. Lundy then packed clothes, food, ammunition and fire arms and later that night the three boys left in Danner's car to go to Arizona.
The police investigation stated that there is no evidence of abuse between Danner and Lundy.
Lundy and Gingerich are charged with Murder, while Williams, is charged with Aiding and Causing a Murder. For now, Williams will remain in juvenile court. At the beginning of the waiver hearing Thursday, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Hampton severed Williams' case from the other two.
"I moved to sever the cases for the purpose of clarifying for the judge that the issue today was upon the triggermen," Hampton said.
There is still a waiver petition filed against Williams. Another hearing will determine if Williams will also be moved to adult court. A date for that hearing hasn't been set yet.
Lundy and Gingerich were both booked in the the Kosciusko County jail after the hearing where they will remain without bond.
"I know Sheriff Rocky [Goshert] is taking all the steps and measures for the safety [of the boys] because of concern about their age and the welfare of the two offenders," Hampton said. "They can't be commingled with other juvenile offenders at this time because they were waived as adult offenders and will be treated as such."
Judge Duane Huffer heard testimony from several people, including the boys' mothers, saying they are "good boys".
Lundy's mother and Danner's wife, Robin Danner, got emotional when she said she wanted her son to stay in juvenile court.
"Obviously something has gone very wrong. I don't know what that is. I want to know what that is. My hope is that Colt gets what he needs with the juvenile justice system with the tools available to him to become a productive member of the community. Adult prisons will be negative to him and harmful to the community," Danner said.
Danner said her son was an honor student and rarely got into trouble in school. A substitute teacher had recently given him detention for what the teacher felt was disrespectful behavior. Ludy was a ninth grader at Wawasee High School.
Kosciusko County Probation Officer Brian House testified that Lundy was put on informal adjustment last year for shooting a BB gun at a neighbor while he was on a riding lawn mower in May 2009. The man was hit on the lip below the nose, on a finger and on the back of his right shoulder. House said at first Lundy refused to apologize to the neighbor, which is why the man went to the police. In June, House said Lundy admitted firing the BB gun at the man and was put under the probation department's supervision. Lundy was satisfactorily discharged from the informal adjustment in October 2009.
Danner said during that period, she grounded Lundy, meaning he had no privileges or contact with his friends.
Gingerich's mother, neighbor, grandfather and uncle all testified on his behalf.
"With me he was always respectful. He's a good listener and I wouldn't have to ask him to do something more than once," Gingerich's mother, Nicole, said.
She added Gingerich has had no prior contact with the court system and has never had problems with sneaking out, drugs or alcohol or getting in trouble at school. She said he had a C
average at Wawasee Middle School where he was in sixth grade.
Indiana law states that if a person is ten years old or older and there is probable cause that the person committed murder, the case should be waived to adult court unless it's in the best interest of the child and the safety and welfare of the community to keep it in the juvenile system. That means the burden or proof was on the defense at Thursday's hearing.
The defense attorneys argued that the main purpose of the juvenile system is rehabilitation while the main purpose of the adult system is punishment. They said Lundy and Gingerich would have a better chance of rehabilitation in a juvenile system.
However, Kosciusko County's Chief Probation Officer Ronald Babcock testified the juvenile system doesn't have good facilities to accommodate a "homicide deliquent." A person is also only allowed to stay in the juvenile system until age 18. That would mean a maximum sentence of three years for Lundy and six years for Gingerich.
Babcock testified that both boys should be waived to adult court.
"Murder is a serious offense. I'm not sure in six years he'd grasp the seriousness of the offense in that period of time," Babcock said.
The defense argued that there would not be good opportunities for rehabilitation in adult facilities.
Babcock agreed with the defense that adult inmates make their own decision to participate in programs and there wouldn't be someone to make the boys go. But, he added that rehabilitation programs in juvenile facilities are optional as well.
In the end, Judge Huffer ruled that the juvenile system would not allow for sufficient time for proper rehabilitation.
"The law does not have a good rehabilitation for the act of murder in juvenile facilities," said Judge Huffer. "For an act allegedly violent and unprevoked, this court does not find to keep [Lundy and Gingerich] in the juvenile system."
If convicted, Lundy and Gingerich face a sentence of 45-65 years in prison, with 55 years being the recommended standard.
The next court date for Lundy and Gingerich will be set Friday after the charges are officially filed in adult court.
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