UPDATE: A lowcountry district attorney has petitioned the Family Court to prosecute a 15-year-old boy as an adult. The teen is the suspected gunman in the murder of a 17-year-old boy on Coligny Beach. Solicitor Duffie Stone announced his intention on his website today.
In a news conference on Thursday, Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said his office is still reviewing evidence before deciding whether to pursue adult charges for the 15-year-old Coligny Beach Access shooter.
“I am currently, and my office is currently reviewing all of the evidence and the facts as we know them to be, to determine whether or not we will petition the family court judge to allow us to prosecute the individual charged as an adult,” Solicitor Duffie Stone said.
For now, the shooter, whose name cannot be released under South Carolina law, is in custody at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia. A name can only be released when a case moves to general court session.
“Currently, as most of you know, the individual is charged as a juvenile. Were this individual 16 years old and charged, because of the nature of the charge, and charged with murder, the individual would be automatically considered an adult and would be prosecuted in our court of general sessions with all other adults that we prosecute on a regular basis. This individual however, is 15 years old,” Stone said.
According to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, the juvenile suspect fatally shot 17-year-old Dominique Williams at Coligny Beach Access on Sunday at 8:20 p.m. Coligny Beach Access is one of the most popular spots in Hilton Head Island for families and tourists. Surveillance video showed the shooter approach Williams and open fire. Sheriff’s office investigators believe there had been a dispute between the two over the weekend, leading up to the shooting.
On Tuesday, the suspect’s family turned him in to authorities at 1:30 p.m.
Stone is weighing evidence in the case based on the eight determinative factors of Kent v. U.S., which are: the seriousness of the alleged offense to the community and whether the protection of the community requires waiver, whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner, whether the alleged offense was against persons or against property, greater weight being given to offenses against persons, especially if injury resulted, the merit of prosecuting the complaint, i.e., whether there is evidence upon which a grand jury may be expected to return an indictment, the desirability of trial and disposition of the entire offense in one court when the child’s co-defendants are adults, the sophistication and maturity of the child as determined by consideration of his home, environmental situation, emotional attitude and living pattern, the child’s prior record and involvement with the juvenile justice system, and the prospects for adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of reasonable rehabilitation of the child by the use of procedures, services and facilities currently available to the family court.