Whitesville Double Murder

whitesville double murder minor to be charged as an adultWestern Kentucky residents are much calmer after an arrest for a Whitesville double murder.  Whitesville is in Daviess County, Kentucky.  Several weeks after an altercation, a 17-year old showed up at a party and shot three people.  Two of those people have died (both teenagers) while another sustained non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities intend to try this teenage defendant as an adult.  As a Kentucky criminal defense attorney, I’ve seen this on multiple occasions.  Interestingly, the identity of the alleged shooter has not been released due to his juvenile status.  Under Kentucky law, the name and/or picture of a minor cannot be released until after that person has been arraigned.

There were approximately 75 people at the party, so detectives and police will potentially have numerous eye-witness testimonies as part of their case against the defendant.  The defense attorney is going to have his/her hands full with this Whitesville double murder.

Charging a Minor as an Adult

If the prosecution chooses to prosecute a teenage defendant court as an adult, and the Court grants that request after conducting a transfer hearing, as a “youthful offender,” the minor could be exposed to:

  • A jury trial
  • More severe penalties
  • Potential prison time served with other adults

Some states require juveniles to be transferred to adult criminal court.  Primary factors include:

  • There is probable cause
  • The age of the defendant (e.g. 14 years old or older)
  • Mandatory of the defendant is 14 years of age or older and a firearm was used

Should the grand jury fail to indict the youthful offender for the offense leading to the status, he/she will be returned to juvenile court.

It’s obvious that moving this case to adult criminal court will increase the likelihood that the Commonwealth Attorney’s office will unleash its full power on this 17-year old defendant.  If the family can figure out how to do it, they should strongly consider hiring a private attorney.  This young man’s life just became extremely difficult for reasons most cannot fathom.  Should the prosecution decide to seek the death penalty, how the defense attorney handles the case, or sets it up for appeal, will have the most serious of consequences.