Legislators question trying juveniles as adults after Noblesville shooting

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The Indiana Lawyer on 06/06/2018 by Katie Stancombe and Associated Press

Indiana leaders are questioning current state law that prevents juveniles from being charged as adults one day after a prosecutor said a 13-year-old Noblesville school shooting suspect would not be tried because of his age.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said in a statement Wednesday lawmakers plan to review current state law concerning juveniles not being tried as adults.

“Given the heinous acts that led to a teacher and student being seriously harmed, I think it’s important for us to take a thoughtful look at our criminal code and whether changes to the law are appropriate,” Bosma said.

Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham said the boy accused of shooting and severely wounding 13-year-old Ella Whistler and injuring science teacher Jason Seaman at Noblesville West Middle School would have faced 11 counts in adult court, including attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Whistler’s family said Monday that she remains hospitalized and faces a lengthy recovery after being shot seven times, including in her face, neck and upper chest. She also suffered collapsed lungs, significant nerve damage and several broken bones.

A delinquency petition prosecutors filed Tuesday against the suspect shows he allegedly used a .22-caliber handgun in the shooting and also had a .45-caliber handgun and a knife in his possession.

Buckingham said the teen’s case cannot be heard in adult court under current Indiana law because his alleged attempt to commit murder wasn’t successful. The prosecutor also said someone as young as 12 can be tried for murder as an adult, but the statute has been interpreted to not include attempted murder