INDIANAPOLIS — A Hamilton County judge today ordered that the teenager who admitted to shooting a classmate and a teacher inside Noblesville West Middle School nearly five years ago remain in custody even though he has passed his 18th birthday.
Circuit Judge Paul Felix told the teen, his parents and their son’s defense attorney that a recent allegation that the boy inappropriately and intentionally touched the breast of a female staff member at the Pendleton Juvenile Correction Facility proves he is not ready to be released back into the community, even under tight supervision and GPS monitoring.
The judge cited the offender’s “lack of respect and regard” for the incident with the staff member casts doubt on the boy’s seeming lack of remorse over the 2018 incident.
That Friday afternoon, near the end of the school year, the youth brought two firearms retrieved from his parents’ gun safe along with a knife and opened fire in a classroom, wounding a 13-year-old girl seven times and a teacher, Jason Seaman, three times.
The attack ended when Seaman threw a ball at the boy and wrestled away his guns.
The boy was too young to be tried as an adult and was instead remanded to juvenile detention for treatment and incarceration.
Judge Felix indicated that early on during his detention, the teen didn’t seem to grasp the gravity of his actions, but had recently shown enough progress that the Court was considering his release back to the community once he became an adult on April 5.
But on March 20, a criminal juvenile case manager testified that the boy entered her office, fist bumped her breast twice, made light of it and then bragged about the incident to other juvenile offenders.
Judge Felix, in denying the boy’s release, quoted the teen’s own statement to investigators that, “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’m getting out soon.”
Now the offender will be housed in the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center where he will undergo further psychological assessment and treatment while serving an open-ended incarceration that could last another three years.
”I think he’s an ongoing risk to the public and whatever issues have not been resolved and the public needs to be secured from this individual,” said Deputy Prosecutor Barb Trathen. ”For someone to do these actions inside a maximum juvenile facility where there are guards everywhere poses a serious concern when he’s outside and doesn’t have guards around him.”
The youth is now well over six feet tall with bushy hair and beard wearing glasses and was shown into the courtroom in an orange and white jail jumpsuit and shackles.
The classmates he terrorized in 2018 are set to graduate high school.
Defense Attorney Ben Jaffe told the Court that if released to the custody of his parents, the boy hoped to continue his education online.
The boy sat erect at table through the entire hearing, did not testify in his own defense and noticeably slumped and put his head down only when Judge Felix announced he would not go free and was headed back to detention.
The judge noted that the teen showed only “sadness and remorse in my decision.”