UPDATE: On Wednesday, First District Juvenile Court Judge Angela F. Fonnesbeck considered testimony in the preliminary hearing of the boy accused of aiding in the shooting of Deserae Turner. The judge found that there was enough probable cause in the evidence provided by the state and has called for a trial in that case.
Concerning the other boy who is accused of actually shooting Deserae, the same judge on Tuesday found probable cause in that case and has also called for a trial. Both teens will face the judge again at a later date to determine if they will be tried as adults or be kept in the juvenile system.
Original story: Opening statements Wednesday, defense attorney Shannon Demler said the shooting was indeed a tragic event that took place, but added that the evidence the state presented Wednesday will help prove his defendant was not the gunman.
The state hopes evidence presented this Wednesday will prove that even though the defendant was not the one who actually shot the gun, he was still involved in the attempted homicide of Turner.
Detective Andrew Soelberg from the Logan City Police Department testified that in a statement written by one of Deserae’s friends, the victim complained earlier on the day she was shot, that two boys were being mean to her and would not leave her alone. The two boys were identified as the defendants in this week’s hearings.
Logan City Police Department Detective Matthew Woods interviewed the defendant the day after the shooting. Woods testified that during the interview he became concerned when the defendant’s story did not coincide with the phone records that were recovered during the investigation. Woods said the boy began to swear more and motioned offensive finger gestures. He also threw a cup at the detective.
During the interview, Detective Woods asked if the defendant was an accomplice to the attempted murder of Turner. He denied any involvement. Initially, the defendant said he did not witness the shooting but when interviewed again later, he admitted he was there when the co-defendant shot the girl in the head.
Defense Attorney Demler questioned the detective about the interview and interrogation, asking if the boy’s parents were present. Utah law does not require a parent to be present during an interview of juveniles over the age of 14. The defendant did request the presence of a parent during the second interview. Woods chose to conduct the interview without the parent, stating that a juvenile tends to be more truthful when parents are not included. Demler said Wood’s decision could be viewed as a means for taking advantage of the defendant's age.
Demler argues that the only evidence that puts the defendant at the crime scene on February 16th is the boy’s confession gathered during those two interviews.
Demler asked Logan Police Officer Mike Wurston if there was any proof of communication between the defendant and Deserae and he said no.
Detective Brandon Muir from the Smithfield Police Department was asked to inspect a pair of shoes found in the defendant's room with a photograph of a shoe print found at the crime scene. In Muir's opinion, it is a match.