According to an article written by Marek Mazurek in the South Bend Tribune a 14 year old boy with learning disabilities is being charged with murder, and Kenneth Cotter, the St Joseph County Prosecutor is pushing for the case to be transferred to adult court.
The boy is accused of participating in a drive by shooting that resulted in the death of 28-year-old Rhema Harris, a former corrections officer in the St Joseph County Jail.
The article also includes a description of the crime from the prosecutors office saying the boy, “went along with a family member and some friends to shoot at a girl his family had been feuding with in Mishawaka. The boy was reportedly in the backseat of the vehicle involved in the drive-by and fired a handgun towards the residence with multiple people in the backyard.”
Marielena Duerring, the attorney defending the 14-year-old, is quoted as emphasizing that the boy was recruited by his 17-year-old uncle, Braxton Bird, and that he should stay in juvenile court.
Forensic evidence has revealed that the bullet that killed Harris was not fired by the boy, but in his closing arguments deputy prosecutor Mark Roule defended the murder charge with an appeal to the theory of accomplice liability.
The article also states that Roule said concerns about the boy’s learning disabilities shouldn’t cause Polando – the judge in the case – to forget the severity of the offense, with the direct quote, “We can say he’s frustrated by his learning disability and could benefit from some tutoring. But it’s murder,”