By Nathan Baker
On Monday, Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said a 14-year-old charged Sunday with second-degree murder after the stabbing death of another local teen was one of the youngest arrested on suspicion of such a violent crime in his memory.
Now, Assistant District Attorney General Dennis Brooks will have to decide whether to pursue adult charges against a boy barely old enough to attend high school.
“Any time a teenager is alleged to have murdered someone we consider it,” Brooks said. “We’ll have to consult with Tony Clark, the district attorney, to make the final decision, but I expect that it will be made fairly soon.”
In Tennessee, a child younger than 18 accused of a crime will be tried in juvenile court unless a judge grants a petition to transfer the case to a criminal court to be tried as an adult.
If the child is younger than 16, a case can only be transferred to criminal court in the event of a handful of charges, including those of first- and second-degree murder.
According to state law, the district attorney general is barred from seeking the death penalty in juvenile cases transferred to adult courts.