A Warren County judge loosened a restriction Friday on the fifth teen held on murder charges as a result of an alleged botched robbery resulting in the death of a fifth member of their alleged conspiracy.
Judge Joe Kirby ordered Jackson P. Pelphrey “may have contact with his co-defendants for educational purposes” while he and three of the teens remained in the Warren County Juvenile Detention Center.
This ruling was the only decision to come out of a hearing Friday between the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers handling the case in the juvenile court.
The hearing set the stage for appearances in March and April that will decide whether the cases should be transferred to adult court.
Pelphrey, 16, of Centerville; Kayla Carmack, 17, of Turtlecreek Twp., Warren County; and Jacob Hicks and Logan Dean, both 16, of Washington Twp., Montgomery County; are charged in the juvenile court with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy.
Dakota Cox, 18, of Washington Twp., Montgomery County, has been indicted in Warren County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, conspiracy, tampering with evidence and possession of criminal tools in connection with the case. He remains in the adult jail in the county government complex In Lebanon.
They are all charged in the fatal shooting of Mason N. Trudics, 18, of Centerville, during an alleged robbery of marijuana from an unidentified person authorities allege shot Trudics in self-defense during the robbery attempt on Dec. 13 outside Carmack’s home on Oregonia Road.
Carmack, Hicks and Cox were arrested shortly after the shooting.
Dean was seriously wounded, delaying his appearances in court.
Pelphrey was arrested last week.
The juveniles’ next court appearance is expected to be for a hearing gauging whether prosecutors have “probable cause” to transfer the cases across Justice Drive to the county’s adult court, or common pleas court.
Kirby has told the juveniles that state law makes transfers in such cases mandatory, provided prosecutors can prove basic facts underlying the charges.
Still, after Pelphrey’s arraignment Tuesday, his lawyer said he would be fighting the transfer to adult court, where the juveniles could face 15 years to life in prison.
“It can be fought,” Patrick Mulligan said.”That is a fight we are going to have.”
Pelphrey’s hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Hicks is scheduled to return to court on April 3.
Rob Kaufman, lawyer for Hicks, agreed with Mulligan.
Hicks is one of apparently three of those charged who contend they had left the scene when the shootings occurred.
Kaufman made this point at Hicks’ arraignment. On Friday, Kaufman declined to elaborate on this or his strategy on April 3.
Previously, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said a suspect need only have “actively worked with your co-conspirators to commit the crime.”
Dean is set for court on March 30, Carmack April 1.
Their lawyers couldn’t be reached for comment.
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