CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) A Virginia teenager charged with first-degree murder in the death of an elderly couple could be tried as an adult after charges against him were certified to circuit court.
The 17-year-old was sent to an adult jail after a Feb. 5 preliminary hearing in Louisa County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, The Daily Progress reported.
Authorities charged the teen with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Roger Wood Payne, Jr, 82. The teen is also charged with aggravated malicious wounding in the shooting of Payne’s wife, Nancy Payne, 73, and with breaking and entering with the intent to commit murder and robbery.
In closing arguments, Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire said the teenager watched the house before the robbery and shooting and planned his attack. Richard Harry, the teen’s attorney, asked the court not to certify the charges, taking issue with the prosecution argument that his client cased the home and noting a lack of forensic evidence.
Judge Deborah S. Tinsley agreed with the commonwealth and certified the charges against the teen and moved the case up to circuit court.
State code requires juveniles 14 years of age and older charged with capital murder, first- or second-degree murder, lynching or aggravated malicious wounding to be automatically transferred to the circuit court level to be tried as an adult.
The charges will be presented to a grand jury in Louisa County Circuit Court on March 9, which will decide whether or not to indict him.