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Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 11:03 AM
Updated: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 3:56 PM
— The six juveniles that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says are connected to two local gangs and charged with a Huber Heights AT&T armed robbery will have probable cause hearings in April, a judge ordered Friday.
Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi scheduled half of the juveniles to appear April 2 and the other half to appear April 25.
Two 17-, two 16- and two 15-year-olds were back in court with their families to hear amended charges brought by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, which is seeking for all six to be transferred to adult court.
The hearings that included charges of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle and failure to comply with the order of a police officer were heard in three sets of two defendants. Deputies eventually cleared the hallway, which was filled with teens because many didn’t have school Friday.
One of the 17-year-olds also faces breaking and entering charges in connection with crimes committed at Cricket Wireless stores in Centerville and West Carrollton.
“The three charges with the gun (specifications) would be mandatory transfers because of your age,” Capizzi told a 17-year-old. “Then the two additional felonies would be what is called discretionary transfers — this court will make a decision on at the appropriate time.”
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A sheriff’s detective has said the juveniles and 18-year-old Caleb W. Johnson are tied to either the 2Hunnid or Uptown gangs.
Capizzi said that if the 17-year-olds were found guilty in adult court on all counts and all specs that they could possibly face 14 to 20 years in prison on concurrent sentences and three or four decades on consecutive sentences.
“We all understand the judicial system and that a lot of times, courts will agree, prosecutors will agree to plea to two, drop two, whatever,” Capizzi said. “There are deals cut that could change that number. I wanted to give you the worst-case scenario.”
Capizzi said that if he finds probable cause that the 16- and 15-year-olds committed the Huber Heights robbery, then the judge would schedule amenability hearings about eight weeks later to determine if they should be transferred to adult court.
Capizzi said some of the minors are not alleged to have carried a gun in the alleged armed robbery, so the judge also would have discretion about sending them to common pleas court, if he finds probable cause.
Capizzi also strongly denied a call for a gag order and said that he wishes he hadn’t been threatened in social media posts, but that he alone will decide if there is probable cause for all the juveniles and whether the younger ones will be transferred to adult court.
The request for a gag order came from Alan Gabel, the guardian ad litem for one of the juveniles.
Gabel said he was concerned that Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. gave a press conference that may “poison the well” if the juveniles reach adult court.
Capizzi said: “I would love to have a gag order for everyone on this case so my life isn’t threatened as it has been. Gag orders don’t stop anyone from staying what they want to say. These are (young) men still considered innocent until we have a probable cause hearing.”