Before the ruling, Jacob politely answered several questions from Tornichio, who wanted to make sure he understood what was happening, what his options were and that he was satisfied with counsel from his attorney, Jennifer Marietta.
“You have experienced things in life that no one, no matter how old they are, should experience,” Tornichio told Jacob. “The trauma that you witnessed first hand, the fact that you’ve been gone from the community for a very long time. A lot of people were worried about you and your safety, given what has happened to your family.”
News Center 7's John Bedell talked to a local psychologist about the road ahead for 15-year-old Jacob Caldwell and his family now that he's been found more than a year after he went missing following witnessing his father's murder.
RELATED: Jacob Caldwell had history of running away, records show
Before Tornichio’s ruling, Marietta and other attorneys were given the opportunity to address the court about Jacob.
“He has had quite an interesting last year and a half,” Marietta said. “He is a very kind, intelligent and respectful young man. I believe he has a bright future. It has been an absolute pleasure working with him on this case.”
After the hearing, attorney Lori Cicero, who represents Jacob’s legal guardian and paternal grandmother Sally DeThomas, told this news organization that the judge’s decision is the best outcome.
“This has been a very emotional process for all of those involved, especially for Sally,” Cicero said. “It is just a very difficult experience for her to see that Jacob’s overall progress in life since his father’s murder has been stifled by the circumstances in which he found himself in. But today is a good day for the family and for Jacob. Today will be the first day of his journey toward his recovery to achieve some stability, consistency, and to be able to heal … that is the most important part of all of this.”
Jacob, who had prior runaway incidents, is a potential witness in the federal case against the people who are charged in his father’s murder.
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Six people have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Robert Caldwell’s death, including Jacob’s mother and Robert’s ex-wife, Tawnney Caldwell, and her boyfriend Sterling Roberts.
Tawnney Caldwell and Roberts are charged with murder. Their trial and that of three others in the case is scheduled to begin Nov. 5.