A defense attorney today criticized San Francisco prosecutors for charging a 14-year-old murder suspect as an adult for a fatal shooting in the city’s Hunters Point neighborhood last month.
The boy, whose name is not being published because it is still not clear whether he will face trial as an adult, appeared in court along with 20-year-old Derrick Hunter at the San Francisco Hall of Justice this morning.
Hunter and the teen have been charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, dissuading a witness and other felonies in connection with the slaying of 19-year-old Jaquan Rice and the wounding of a 17-year-old girl.
The shooting occurred at about 1 p.m. on June 24 at a bus stop near West Point and Middle Point roads.
The 14-year-old boy’s defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young, said she was shocked that prosecutors charged her client in adult court.
District attorneys in California have the right to try defendants as young as 14 as adults.
“I think it’s an outrage,” Young said. “Obviously under the statute they’re allowed to do that, but he’s just out of eighth grade and it seems like a pretty shocking decision by the DA’s office here.”
District attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said, “Given the facts and circumstances of this case, at this time he is charged as an adult, but it has not been decided if he will be tried as one.”
Hunter and the boy were scheduled to be arraigned this morning but the hearing was postponed until July 18 because a misunderstanding about the time of today’s hearing caused the boy’s parents to be absent.
“He really wanted his mother here,” Young said.
She said she is waiting for additional information about the case from prosecutors, who have not disclosed what they believe was the motive for the shooting.
Bastian said he could not immediately provide more information about the case because the investigation is ongoing.
The 17-year-old girl who was injured in the shooting was Rice’s girlfriend, his mother Shakeyta Levy wrote on Facebook.
Levy wrote on the social media website that Rice’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News