A Henrico County juvenile court judge denied a motion seeking to transfer a 14-year-old boy, who is accused of killing 13-year-old Lucia Bremer last March, to circuit court for trial as an adult.
Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor said Monday, following a closed hearing before Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge Stacy E. Lee, that her office would appeal the decision based on the seriousness of the offense.
A date has not been set for the appeal, but must occur within 45 days, according to Taylor.
Bremer and another girl were walking in the 1900 block of Hickoryridge Road, along a path connecting the Gayton Forest West neighborhood to nearby Godwin High School, when they were shot at and Bremer was killed. The shooting occurred around 4:30 p.m. on March 26.
Authorities have not identified the boy they arrested and charged in connection with the case, citing his age. He is charged with first-degree murder. If tried in juvenile court, he could be held only until the age of 21. If tried as an adult, he could receive up to life in prison.
The youth also faces felony charges of attempted murder, threatening to shoot up a school and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and misdemeanor charges of brandishing a firearm and possession of a firearm by a minor.
Because Monday’s hearing was closed to the public — as every hearing in the case has been — Taylor could not detail the evidence she presented, nor the basis for the ruling. But the state law addressing whether it is appropriate to transfer a juvenile to circuit court lays out 10 factors a judge can consider, including the age of the juvenile; the seriousness of the offense and its potential punishment; any prior criminal record; the juvenile’s education; and his mental, emotional and physical maturity.
The law also considers whether the youth can be rehabilitated by the age of 21.
“The law does talk about the juvenile process having a hard stop at 21,” Taylor said Monday. “One may ask whether or not an individual who has committed a crime at the age of 14 or 15, with a 21-year end date, whether or not six years or seven years may be appropriate to address any concerns a court may have.”
The Richmond Times-Dispatch had asked the court to grant a reporter access to the hearing, but Lee prohibited media, citing state laws that allow a judge to exclude anyone “whose presence would impair the conduct of a fair trial,” and to close juvenile hearings.
Bremer’s parents also were not allowed to attend, said Taylor, adding that they were disappointed with the ruling.