DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Several teenagers are behind bars after a week of violence in the Miami Valley. The teens are now waiting on a judge to decide whether they’ll be tried as juvenile or adults.
Parents of the teens are urging the judge to be lenient and try them as juveniles, but prosecutors are pressuring the judge to do the opposite and have their cases moved to adult court, where if convicted they could spend decades in prison.
Terrifying moments were caught on surveillance camera this week showing store clerks being held at gunpoint allegedly by teenagers.
The suspects seen robbing a Huber Heights AT&T store Thursday are now behind bars after leading police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash. They range in age from 15 to 18 and could soon spend decades behind bars much to the shock of their parents.
So could a 17-year-old suspect, caught on surveillance video robbing 2 Miamisburg gas station clerks at gunpoint Monday before being shot by police after the off-duty officer says the teen pointed a gun at him.
“These people,” University of Dayton law professor Tom Hagel said. “Are incredibly dangerous.”
Tom Hagel is a law professor at the University of Dayton and has had experience dealing with teens when he worked as a public defender.
“They have a tendency not to have an appreciation for the consequences of their conduct,” Hagel said.
Tuesday, the 17-year-old appeared before Judge Anthony Capizzi, who will soon decide whether to try the teen as a juvenile or have his case transferred to adult court.
“The charge itself is so serious and so potentiality heinous,” Judge Capizzi said. “The people in that gas station could have been killed.”
“If the judge says ‘well realistically we’ve tried probation,” Hagel said. “We’ve tried all these programs and nothing has worked’ well then the conclusion might easily come to ‘well we got to treat them as adults.'”
The judge will decide how to try the teens based on the severity of their crimes and their juvenile record. Judge Capizzi says the 17-year-old has a clean record, but Hagel says he won’t be surprised if the teens are tried as adults.
“If they did this,” Hagel said. “Then they’re guilty of some very serious criminal offenses.”
If the teens are tried as juveniles, the harshest punishment they could receive is an order by a judge to remain in juvenile detention until 21. When they’re released, their juvenile record would remain sealed. It’s a stark contrast from the decades in prison they could face if tried as adults.