Prosecutor wants teen in Kettering homicide tried as adult

Stolen gun used in shooting death of 16-year-old Ronnie Bowers.

A 16-year-old charged with murder in the shooting death of a Fairmont High School junior will remain in custody for three more months, awaiting his likely transfer to adult court.

A judge on Wednesday set a Jan. 24 hearing for Kylen Jamal Gregory, a Kettering teen who will face will face two counts of murder and other charges in the Sept. 4 shooting of 16-year-old Ronnie Bowers near AlterFest. The case "absolutely screams out" to be tried in adult court, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck said.

Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi said state guidelines may make the transfer to adult court — a move Bowers' family has endorsed — mandatory. Until the hearing, Gregory, one of three juveniles detained in the case, will not be released, Capizzi said.

“It’s simply not going to happen,” Capizzi said. “For the safety of the community as well as the safety of the defendant in the community,” Capizzi said.

Gregory and the two other juveniles, ages 17 and 15, faced amended charges stemming from Bowers’ Sept. 6 death.

Heck declined to explain the second murder charge against Gregory, saying it “will become clearer as the case proceeds.”

The charges against two other teens will remain in juvenile court, Heck said. All three are Kettering students, police have said.

If the state proves probable cause that Gregory committed murder, Capizzi said he would have “no choice” and the case would transfer to adult court as “those are mandatory transfer cases under Ohio law.”

Heck said “in this case, there’s no question it should be tried in adult court.”

Gregory used a stolen Smith & Wesson to shoot Bowers in the 800 block of Willowdale Avenue near Ackerman Boulevard about 9 p.m. that night after leaving AlterFest, Heck said.

Gregory was singled out by the other two juvenile defendants as the one who “fired the gun, striking” Bowers, according to an affidavit by Kettering police for a search warrant filed in Montgomery County Juvenile Court.

The other two juvenile defendants “did not either know of a gun or expect there to be any gunfire involvement,” he said, noting Gregory “should have never had a gun and should have never fired a shot,” Heck said.

“This is a sad and tragic event,” he said. “Ronnie Bowers was a well-liked 16-year-old student…and was a completely innocent bystander…”

Authorities said an ongoing dispute involving a mutual acquaintance of both Gregory and Bowers flared up at AlterFest. The groups Gregory and Bowers were with left the annual Labor Day weekend event and encountered each other again later, Heck said.

“They were calling out of the one of persons in the victim’s car to have a fist fight,” he said. “The victim … pulled away in his car in an attempt to leave.

“But as he drove off, (Gregory) produced a handgun and fired at the car, shattering the back window and striking the victim … in the back of the head.”

All three juveniles were initially charged with felonious assault. Amended charges and the motion to transfer Gregory’s case was made after “an extensive investigation and a very thorough investigation – I might add – into the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic event,” Heck said.

Gregory also faces one count of discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises and one count of grand theft of a firearm, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Both other teens face two counts of tampering with evidence, one count of assault and one count of aggravated menacing, according to the prosecutor’s office.

A fourth suspect, 2016 Fairmont grad Miles Heizer, was jailed the morning after the shooting. He was released Sept. 6 pending a further investigation that is still ongoing, Heck said.

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