Kylen Gregory isn’t likely to be successfully rehabilitated in the juvenile system, having shown a pattern of deceit and manipulation, according to one psychologist.
Another says he “believes it is reasonable” that the 19-year-old convicted in adult court of killing Ronnie Bowers in a 2016 Kettering shooting could be reformed in the juvenile system by his 21st birthday.
The two opinions were the focus Monday at a hearing to decide whether Gregory’s case remains in juvenile court or returns to adult court, where he has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for the deadly shooting that occurred when both the defendant and the victim were 16.
Both Montgomery County Juvenile Court psychologist Dr. Laura Fujimura and defense witness Dr. Daniel Davis interviewed Gregory and filed reports with the court.
Fujimura testified for the state that she thought the prognosis was “low” for Gregory to respond successfully to treatment as a juvenile.
She said his three-plus years in the county’s detention center has seen more than 300 instances in which he was singled out for negative behavior.
“It’s extraordinarily risky,” Fujimura said. “I don’t think Kylen can make the changes he needs to make in that amount of time.”
Based on her evaluation and county records, Fujimura said Gregory has shown defiant behavior, and has lacked empathy and remorsefulness for his actions while regularly not being forthcoming.
Keeping him in the juvenile system – and releasing him in March 2021 – “could put the whole community at risk,” she said.
Around the time of his trial in November 2018, Gregory tried to get off medication he was on so he could cry on the witness stand during his testimony, Fujimura said.
But Davis said tests showed Gregory is in the “moderate range” for juvenile rehabilitation. He said that system provides “more appropriate, more intense and more accountable” treatment than the prison system.
Davis said the “lack of empathy or lack of remorsefulness is difficult to rate in young adult males.”
He said Gregory has shown signs of being distrustful and has exhibited anti-social behavior.
“But the vast majority of anti-social behavior does not persist into adulthood,” Davis said, “unless you have the characteristics that he doesn’t have.
“I don’t think it is impossible for those factors to be addressed by the time he’s 21…he could make reasonable progress,” he added.
Judge Anthony Capizzi is likely to take some time being issuing a ruling in the case, court officials said.
At his trial, Gregory testified he – without provocation from Bowers, called an “innocent bystander” - aimed a loaded gun and fired at the victim’s car on Sept. 4, 2016. Gregory said he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
Authorities said the shot hit Bowers, seated in the driver’s seat, in the head and two days later he died from the wound in what was ruled a homicide.
In adult court, Gregory was indicted on two counts of murder, five counts of felonious assault and other charges. The found him guilty of reckless homicide and firing a gun in a restricted area. The panel deadlocked on the felonious assault counts.
Facing a retrial on those charges, Gregory this spring pleaded guilty in a deal that came with a lighter sentence than he would have faced if convicted by a jury. Because Gregory was not convicted of murder, the case was returned to juvenile court.
In adult court, Judge Dennis Langer sentenced him to 11 years in prison minus time already served.
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