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News Brief: Decision Pending on Whether Teen Will Be Tried as Adult

Aug. 10, 2005 – Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall is expected to render a decision soon as to whether a 17-year-old St. Thomas teenager will stand trial as an adult in the July murder of two New York tourists. Kendall took under advisement this week motions that the unnamed suspect be bound over and tried as an adult. The Virgin Islands Code provides for a judge to decide whether a minor over the age of 14 charged with murder should be bound over as an adult. Legal sources said Tuesday the decision is usually based on whether enough evidence exists to support trial as an adult.
V.I. government prosecutors said Tuesday that a closed-door hearing was held at the V.I. Superior Court but because the suspect is a minor, his identified is not being made public. The minor boy and his 20-year-old brother Jamal Hart are being held on murder and weapons related charges in connection with the shooting death of Tristan Charlier and Leon Roberts. Charlier and Roberts were on the island for a few hours when they were accosted and fatally shot. Hart and his brother have entered not guilty pleas and are being held at the Youth Rehabilitation Center on St. Croix in lieu of $500,000 bail each.
At an earlier court hearing, police officials testified that the break in the case came when an eyewitness to the robbery and subsequent shooting stepped forward and provided information to police investigators. Robbery was reported to be the motive for the shooting.

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