Prosecutors have requested that a juvenile who allegedly robbed Larry’s Party Shop at gunpoint last month be tried as an adult, according to documents filed Feb. 12 with Highland County Juvenile Court.
A 17-year-old male and a 16-year-old male, both of Hillsboro, who were allegedly involved in the Jan. 30 incident have been charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony.
Faith Marie Scott, 19, of Hillsboro, was originally charged with aggravated robbery, receiving stolen property and two counts of contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a juvenile in connection with the incident. But those charges were dropped in Hillsboro Municipal Court because her case has been bound over to a grand jury.
The 17-year-old who is suspected to be the robber is the individual that the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office has requested be tried as an adult.
Highland County Juvenile Court Judge Kevin Greer said Wednesday that certain criteria have to be met before a juvenile can be tried as an adult.
He said the suspect has to be at least 14 years old, the law that was violated has to be a first-degree felony, and that there has to be probable cause to believe the suspect committed the offense.
After that is determined, Greer said prosecutors would have to prove that the juvenile cannot be rehabilitated in the juvenile system and that the safety of the community would require the juvenile to be locked up beyond the age of 21.
As previously reported by The Times-Gazette, the Hillsboro Police Department said that at 8:51 p.m. on Jan. 30, a male walked into Larry’s Party Shop, 113 Muntz St., Hillsboro, brandished a weapon and demanded cash from the register. The subject then fled the scene with an undetermined amount of cash.
Hillsboro Police Chief Darrin Goudy previously said that the subject brandished a handgun, then fled the store on foot. He said he was not sure which direction the suspect headed after he fled the store.
The suspect was wearing a black jacket with a black hood and a white mask, according to Goudy.
No Larry’s Party Shop employees were injured during the incident, according to the police department.
Greer said there will be a mental evaluation of the 17-year-old on Friday.
The judge said that if the evaluation determines the 17-year-old’s case should not be bound over to an adult court, prosecutors can ask the judge to find that the 17-year-old is a “serious youthful offender.”
If the 17-year-old is found to be a serious youthful offender, and he is tried and convicted, he would receive both a juvenile and an adult sentence, Greer said.
In that case, Greer said the juvenile sentence would be served first, and if the suspect did everything he was supposed to do and followed all rules, the case would be over at the end of the juvenile sentence. But if the rules were not followed, then the suspect could be sentenced as an adult.
In another scenario, Greer said that if he finds the 17-year-old should not be treated as a serious youthful offender, he would then be treated like any other juvenile.
The Highland County Prosecutor’s Office said it could not comment since the case is pending.
According to court documents, all three suspects have admitted their involvement in the incident. The documents say the 17-year-old admitted to planning the robbery with the 16-year-old and Scott, to entering the business and taking the money, and to splitting the money with the other two suspects.
The documents also say the alleged weapon was a BB gun, and that Scott admitted to painting the tip of it black and giving it to the 17-year-old.
In a juvenile court hearing Tuesday, the juveniles were ordered to be held in detention until their next hearing.
Greer initially disqualified himself from the case due to a conflict of interest since Shane Wilkin, the owner of Larry’s Party Shop, is a fellow elected official. But he requalified himself after all involved parties agreed to have him preside over the case, according to court documents.
The 17-year-old’s next hearing in the case is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 15. The 16-year-old’s next hearing in the case is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 17.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.