Warren County authorities on Tuesday filled in some of the blanks surrounding the facts in a Dec. 18 murder case brought against five teens accused in an alleged botched robbery that ended with one dead.
But the lawyer representing Jackson Paul Pelphrey, 16, of Centerville, the fifth teenager charged in the case, told a judge his client had contacted authorities within two days of the fatal shooting of Mason N. Trudics, 18, of Centerville, yet was only arrested about 1 p.m. Friday.
“My client is in a fundamentally different position than the co-defendants in this particular case. The reason for that quite frankly is the amount of time that has passed since the government has chosen to act,”attorney Patrick Mulligan said during Pelphrey’s arraignment in Warren County Juvenile Court. “My client chose not to run, not to hide, has not harmed himself and has retained counsel.”
Warren County authorities have not responded to questions about the timing of Pelphrey’s arrest or reports they were searching for a fifth suspect. The other four defendants were arrested within days of the incident.
Pelphrey is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy.
The charges filed Monday in Pelphrey’s case allege the group planned to rob the uncharged shooter of “weed” and discussed how to split the proceeds.
The charges also allege the group lured the intended victim to the home of Kayla Carmack, 17, on Oregonia Road, just east of Lebanon; brought a bat, gloves, masks and duct tape; and “took positions” to carry out the robbery.
Some relatives of those accused say the incident stemmed from a romantic dispute over Carmack between Trudics and the shooter.
Pelphrey also is charged with a firearms specifications alleging he was carrying a gun when they allegedly attempted to rob the shooter.
Like two others, Pelphrey had left the scene when the shooting started, according to his lawyer.
Trudics was killed and another of the defendants, Logan Dean, 16, of Washington Twp., Montgomery County, seriously wounded.
Carmack and Jacob Hicks, 16, of Washington Twp. also face murder and robbery charges, in juvenile court, at least for the time being.
In adult court, Dakota Cox, 18, of Washington Twp., Montgomery County, has been indicted on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, conspiracy, tampering with evidence and possession of criminal tools in connection with the case.
On Friday, lawyers for Pelphrey, Carmack, Dean and Hicks are to meet with Kirby and prosecutors to discuss latter hearings over whether the juveniles should be charged in adult court.
If convicted, they would all face up to life in prison. Only Carmack has a prior record.
Judge Joe Kirby explained to Pelphrey how he would likely transfer the case to adult court, because one charge was murder, among those qualifying for “mandatory transfer” under Ohio law.
After the hearing, Mulligan acknowledged law supported the transfer but indicated he would be fighting this nonetheless. All four juveniles are scheduled for hearings deciding this issue.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Mulligan also urged Judge Jeff Kirby to release Pelphrey, in part due to “near solitary confinement” conditions.
Kirby agreed with Assistant County Prosecutor Julie Kraft, who said, like the other four defendants “the best place for him right now would be in the custody of the juvenile detention center.”
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