Bail de­nied for teenage sus­pect Boy, 17, ac­cused in death of 11-year-old in East Chicago

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News - By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tri­bune

A 1 7-ye a r- o l d b oy charged with shooting and killing an 11-year-old East Chicago boy in May won’t be re­leased from cus­tody.

Judge Sa­muel Cap­pas said in a Tues­day hear­ing that af­ter read­ing briefs sub­mit­ted by Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Chris Bruno and De­fense at­tor­ney John Cantrell, the facts and case fall in fa­vor of the state in the case of Sherquell Magee, of East Chicago. He then de­nied Magee’s pe­ti­tion for bail.

Cantrell told the court that he’s in talks with the state as well as Lake County Pros­e­cu­tor Bernard Carter about the case and re­quested a Jan­uary date for the next hear­ing. Cap­pas sched­uled the hear­ing date for Jan. 15.

Magee, 17, pleaded not g u i l t y a f t e r h e wa s charged in Lake Su­pe­rior Court with mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and at­tempted bat­tery by means of a deadly weapon in the death of David An­der­son. On May 5, An­der­son was stand­ing in a gazebo when he was struck in the head by a bul­let that came from a nearby fight be­tween ju­ve­niles at Nunez Park, in the 3700 block of Elm Street in East Chicago, court records show.

Cap­pas and the at­tor­neys heard tes­ti­mony in Septem­ber from ju­ve­niles who were at the park the day An­der­son was shot. A 14-year-old boy who was in­volved said the ar­gu­ment be­gan over a belt he was wear­ing.

They also watched sur­veil­lance video of the in­ci­dent, which Bruno said is “the most pow­er­ful ev­i­dence” in the case.

Bruno ar­gued in his brief that Magee “acted in a to­tally un­rea­son­able man­ner” when he es­ca­lated “what was a ju­ve­nile fist­fight into a homi­cide” and killed “an in­no­cent by­stander.” Cantrell, on the other hand, said Magee’s ac­tions “were ar­guably in­fin­itely more reck­less than in­ten­tional.”

The fact that he used his left hand to fire the gun, rather than his dom­i­nant right hand, proves he acted in self-de­fense, ac­cord­ing to Cantrell.

Dur­ing the fight, Bruno said Magee “in­jects him­self into a sit­u­a­tion that he has no busi­ness in,” court records state. Two other ju­ve­niles were fight­ing, and Magee jumped in and fired the gun at one of the ju­ve­niles, but in­stead hit An­der­son, Bruno said.

Cantrell said that Magee “was hang­ing out at the park not look­ing for or caus­ing any trou­ble” when he was “pro­voked and at­tacked” by a group who con­sid­ered Magee and his friends the “ops,” or en­emy.

“As a mi­nor, Mr. Magee does not have any ex­pe­ri­ence in han­dling or dis­charg­ing a firearm,” Cantrell wrote.

Arguments for reck­less homi­cide or in­vol­un­tary manslaugh­ter could be made, which should qual­ify Magee for bail, Cantrell said.

But Bruno said that “sim­ply, there is no ev­i­dence to sup­port ‘sud­den heat’ or any lesser-in­cluded of­fenses.”

An­der­son died May 6 at Comer Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal in Chicago.

Becky Ja­cobs con­trib­uted.

Michelle L. Quinn is a free­lance re­porter for the Post-Tri­bune.

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