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Adult court hearing for juvenile in Milan woman’s murder PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff Report   
Monday, March 11, 2013 9:10 PM

The Ripley County Prosecutor’s office presented their case Thursday, March 7, to waive into adult court one of the juveniles charged in the murder of a Milan woman.

Despite a three-hour presentation by the attorneys at Ripley Circuit Court, no decision was rendered from the judge though, reports WRBI radio.

The 15-year-old was with four others who came to Ripley County Dec. 29 with the intent to steal money from a residence, but it later ended with the death of Nancy Hershman, who walked in on three young people who broke into her home.

Hershman was fatally shot, and Allison Moore, 22, of Colerain Township, Ohio, is in the Ripley County jail awaiting trial for the Hershman murder. This teen was in the home at the time. Like Moore, he too is charged with murder, burglary and attempted burglary.

Both the state and defense have until Wednesday to submit their findings to Ripley Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul, who will then make a decision on the waiver to adult court.

If the teen was 16, the waiver would be automatic because of the severity of the crime, according to Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel.

“The difference of juvenile and adult court is significant,” Hertel told WRBI after the hearing.
“Right now he would only face potentially the boys school, which is the juvenile department of corrections, which would hold him until age 18 to age 21. Where the adult court, he faces a range of prison on the murder charge, if convicted, would hold him, of 45 to 65 years,” he said, plus the burglary charges.

Dark haired with a small frame, the teen was escorted by the probation officers and entered the court shackled at the ankles and handcuffed. His parents were also there, and so were the relatives and friends of victim Nancy Hershman.

The boy lives in Cincinnati, in the Colerain Township area, and is a freshmen at a public school there, and how he came to Ripley County later unfolded.

His story

WRBI reports during the hearing, Hertel stressed the teen’s past drug use, school discipline record, anger issues, and current rule violations at the juvenile detention center the past month as being a threat to society, plus the severity of the crime, as reasons to move the case to adult court. 

Register Publications and WRBI 15 year old will not be named in the media because no decision has been made yet on the waiver to adult court, and will be referred to as “SN.”

Hertel explained the process and statutes for a move to adult court. “There are certain statutory guidelines we are bound by. The first one is that he is over 10 years of age. Second, we filed a delinquency petition in juvenile court alleging murder. The third one is that probable cause exists and it is found that he committed the offense.”

Ripley County probation juvenile officer Amanda Kitts handled the boy’s case and she was called to testify by the state.

She included reports from middle and high school indicate “SN”  had 17 school suspensions and two expulsions, one in middle school, one in high school. Authorities said it was basically “chronic” misbehavior.

The teen had five suspensions in four months upon entering high school in August, until he was expelled in November.

She also reported he’s had 85 rule violations since he’s been at the Cedar Ridge juvenile center in Muncie as of Jan. 16, six of those being “major” incidents.

Kitts recommends his case be moved to adult court.

The teen’s attorney Ross Thomas tried to minimize the severity of the school and juvenile center violations and the lack of other treatment alternatives available as discipline.

He has lived with his parents all his life, and has an older brother, who may have also been involved in the crime incident.

No options
Thomas asked Kitts if the school ever suggested alternatives, such as substance abuse treatment, anger management, or professional counseling, as treatment for the disciplinary problems. 

His father testified he and his wife were called in for the suspensions, but no such options were mentioned.

It was also brought up by the defense if sending him home from school is a helpful discipline approach.

His father said he and his wife were both working when he had to be at home due to the suspensions so he was unsupervised.

State Police Detective Tracy Rohlfing also testified as he was involved in the murder investigation.

Defense tried to determine if the father was aware of by signing certain rights documents for his son there would be a possibility of going to adult court.

Details also unfolded of that night, and were brought up at that hearing.

The affidavit indicated the teen said he provided the 40 caliber gun, which he had purchased a few days earlier with Christmas money.

He told detectives he held the gun at Ryan Jackson and his girlfriend, while they stole money and drugs from the residence in Cross Plains.

He later gave the gun and a glove to Allison Moore before he, Moore and another teen, broke into Hershman’s home.

The other teen boy lived near SN, but had once lived and worked in Ripely County.
SN’s father testified he did not want him hanging out with this other boy, but was unaware he got in a car with him Dec. 29, and drove to Ripley County when these crimes occurred.

His mother was also at the courthouse, but stayed in the hall as testimony was presented because she was on the witness list. She was not called, though, to testify Thursday.