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Teen, 15, to be charged as adult in crime spree

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A 15-year-old suspect accused of taking part in a cross-county crime spree that included murder and shootings will be tried as an adult.

Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores announced the decision Friday, waiving the case from the juvenile justice system to adult court.

Gabriel Edwards was arrested Feb. 13 after a crime wave that included several armed robberies and vehicle thefts, the shooting of a man walking his dog and the murder of a man in his Southport driveway.

Moores wrote that it is “not in the best interest of the safety and welfare of the community that that Gabriel Edwards remain in the juvenile justice system,” adding that he is “beyond rehabilitation” and should stand trial as an adult.

Moores said Edwards wasn’t a passenger or held against his will by the other teen charged in the case, writing that “he was the driver who made decisions about where to go and why.” Moores said the crimes Edwards is accused of “are heinous or aggravated in character.”

Edwards had been in juvenile probation programs previously. His attorney argued that he was not beyond rehabilitation, though prosecutors countered that it was clear the juvenile justice system had not worked in his case. Prosecutors said they felt the teen had run out of second chances.

In January, less than a month before the fatal crime spree, Edwards was arrested for vehicle theft, criminal trespass and receiving stolen property and placed on home therapy and 30 days of electronic monitoring.

A psychological evaluation in March found the teenager exhibited average intelligence and anti-social behavior and possessed poor decision-making and risk-assessment skills. A child psychologist said Edwards is prone to acts of impulse because of attention deficit disorder.

Moore said, despite those findings, the crime spree was not an act of impulsivity. Edwards, Moores wrote, had several opportunities to discontinue the four-hour crime spree.

“The juvenile justice system is not capable of protecting the safety and welfare of the community from youth behaving so recklessly, so violently, so callously because it cannot retain jurisdiction over them long enough to ensure that they are rehabilitated and that such conduct is not repeated,” Moores wrote.

Edwards is accused of being the wheelman for Sirquain Burr, who investigators think pulled the trigger, killing John Yingling. Their crime spree ended with a crash on West 56th Street in Hendricks County. Burr’s case has already been moved to adult court.

The ruling means that, if convicted, Edwards would serve the first part of his term in the juvenile facility at the Wabash Correctional Facility. He would then be placed in the general prison population before he turns 20 years old.