NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A Madison County judge decided Wednesday to continue the detainment of a teenager who admitted to shooting a classmate and teacher inside a Noblesville middle school more than five years ago.
Wednesday’s decision followed a short detention hearing held a day earlier in Madison Circuit Court regarding whether the 18-year-old would remain incarcerated or be released on GPS monitoring under 24-hour home supervision.
The teen was 13 years old in May of 2018 when he brought a handgun into Noblesville West Middle School and shot a classmate and science teacher.
The attack ended when the teacher threw a ball at the boy and wrestled away his gun. The classmate was shot multiple times while the teacher was hit three times; both survived.
At the time, the boy was too young to be tried as an adult and was instead remanded to the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in Madison County for treatment and incarceration.
In April 2023, Hamilton County Judge Paul Felix said that early on during his detention, the teen did not appear to grasp the gravity of his actions.
However, Felix said the teen had recently shown enough progress that the Court was considering his release back to the community once he became an adult on April 5.
The possibility of the teen being released after turning 18 was then thwarted after police say he inappropriately and intentionally touched the breast of a female public safety official while in the IDOC juvenile facility. He now faces battery charges in the incident.
A criminal juvenile case manager has since testified that on March 20 the boy entered her office, fist-bumped her breast twice, made light of it and then bragged about the incident to other juvenile offenders.
Near the end of April, Judge Felix cited the offender’s “lack of respect and regard” for the incident with the staff member when saying he has doubts that the boy actually has remorse over the 2018 shooting.
While denying the boy’s release in April, Judge Felix quoted the teen’s own statement to investigators: “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’m getting out soon.”
New developments and possible release
All of these developments brought us to Tuesday, June 6, when Madison Circuit Judge Stephen Koester heard arguments from prosecutors and the teen’s defense attorneys during a detention hearing.
While attorneys representing the teen argued for his release, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings asked the court to keep him behind bars while the court decides on the battery charges.
Koester took all information regarding the school shooting, the recent battery charges and the teen’s recent psychiatric evaluation under advisement before making his final decision.
He eventually decided the teen should be detained for the time being.
In his ruling Wednesday, Koester said the teen’s release was not in the best interest of the community.
“Based on the totality of the circumstances in this case, the Court cannot say that it is in the best interest of the safety and security of the community for the Youth to be released pending the outcome of this new matter [the battery case],” the judge wrote.
Koester noted the teen had gone through intensive rehabilitation yet still faces charges. He expressed concerns about the teen’s “flippant attitude” about the battery allegation and the “lack of remorse” surrounding the 2018 school shooting.
Koester called the teen’s continued detention “essential” to protect the public and considered the teen a “risk to the community.” As a result, the court hold will remain in place until the disposition of the battery case.
A pretrial conference has been scheduled for June 30.