Waiver hearing for teenager charged with murder of Grace Ross to continue next week after running out of time
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) — A waiver hearing for the teenager charged with the murder and molestation of 6-year-old Grace Ross of New Carlisle could not be completed Wednesday simply because the court ran out of time.
It comes after several witnesses testified at a waiver hearing held at the South Bend Juvenile Justice Center on Wednesday.
Deputy St. Joseph County District Attorney Christopher Fronk said Magistrate Graham Polando, who is hearing the case, decided to continue with the hearing on March 3 after he was unable to fully review the two phycological assessments performed. on the teenager by the doctors, who had to testify. .
Once that happens, Magistrate Polando will take all the information from that hearing under advisement and then make a decision.
Nevertheless, Wednesday’s hearing began with having to change courtrooms. The initial courtroom was not large enough for the Grace Ross family who made their presence felt with at least 10 people including Grace Ross’ parents.
In court, evidence was presented including a satellite image of where Grace Ross was found, a photo of Grace Ross when she was found dead by detectives, and the autopsy report.
The prosecution presented a number of witnesses, including the lead investigator on this case, former CMHU and now Mishawaka Police Detective Timothy Wiley. Wiley told how the teenager first told her he had followed Grace Ross into the woods and got lost before she got lost. However, the teen’s story later changed to claiming that a dark figure had taken over his body.
According to Wiley, the autopsy reveals that Ross was molested and sexually assaulted at the time of her death. The cause of death being asphyxiation, or not allowing someone to breathe.
Prosecutors also called JJC probation supervisor Craig Redman to the stand, who recommended the judge consider committing the juvenile to adult court.
Redman says the minor has made startling comments since being taken into juvenile detention nearly 11 months ago.
Here are a few :
“I have a psychopathic mind.”
“Give me any object and I’ll find a way to kill someone, like using a tape dispenser.”
“What is the scariest thing a child can hear? Zip (referring to someone’s pants that are unzipped).
The teenager’s lawyers then called his mother as a witness, who shared her opinion on the possibility of her son being remanded to adult court.
“If he is sent back to adult court, he will be sent back to adult prison. So how will this work? How are they going to keep him safe with other adults?” she said.
She also went on to say that her son “…is a very immature 15-year-old. His maturity level is very close to that of his 9-year-old brother” and adds that “his son’s autism is the reason his maturity level is where he is.”
However, after Fronk spoke to reporters at the end of Wednesday’s session, he explained why he thought trying out the teenager as an adult was the right thing to do.
“That’s the nature of the offence. This is the most egregious violation. Taking someone’s life and that comes with the allegation that there was a sexual component to it, an allegation of rape. It’s as serious as it gets. You can’t underestimate the importance of treating a case like this very seriously,” says Fronk.
The waiver hearing is scheduled to resume next week, March 3. Until then, stick with 16 News Now on air and online as we continue to follow this developing story.
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