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