Indiana teen charged in death of girl, 6, to remain in jail

March 31, 2022 GMT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy accused of molesting and fatally strangling a 6-year-old northern Indiana girl last year will remain held at a county jail as he awaits trial, a judge says.

The boy’s attorneys have argued that their client, who’s charged as an adult in the March 2021 death of 6-year-old Grace Ross of New Carlisle, should be held at a juvenile facility away from adults.

They asked a St. Joseph County judge during a Wednesday court hearing to send the teen back to the county’s juvenile facility. But the judge repeatedly denied those requests, saying that while the situation was not ideal the juvenile center will not take the young defendant.

The boy’s next court hearing is set for May 4. He is currently being held in the St. Joseph County Jail, where he stays in his cell approximately 23 hours a day to avoid contact with adult inmates.

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Jeff Kimmell, one of the teen’s attorneys, said alternatives, such as moving him to facilities in Allen or LaPorte counties, would negatively impact his ability to represent his client.

“A case of this magnitude, I really need to visit him frequently,” he said.

According to court documents, the boy, then 14, told police a “shadowy man” controlled him and made him strangle Ross after she followed him into a wooded area from the nearby apartment complex where she lived about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Chicago.