Delaware County Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth J. Spicer on Friday heard updates about the case involving a 13-year-old Sunbury boy accused of killing his mother’s fiance.
A procedural hearing, called a status conference, was held Friday morning at Delaware County Juvenile Court as preparations for the trial continue. That date is still tentatively set for Oct. 17.
The boy, whom the Gazette is not naming because of his age, was not present during the status conference. He has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge resulting from the April 23 shooting death of 38-year-old Jeffrey Reece. The boy and his 33-year-old mother, whom the Gazette is also not identifying, had lived with Reece in a barn on Stockwell Road in Trenton Township for about six months before the shooting.
Spicer in June declared the boy competent to stand trial after a University of Cincinnati psychiatry professor advised that he is capable of understanding the legal proceedings against him.
Both prosecution and defense attorneys told Spicer that they are staying in communication and preparing for the October trial.
Defense attorney Chad Heald said he would petition the court for additional funds for another competency evaluation, due to legislation changes coming from a new Ohio House Bill, as well as a computer forensic expert.
“Unless we hear something investigative on competency or forensic, the date is still viable for trial,” Heald said.
Spicer also asked if prosecutors are seeking the “serious youth offender” indictment, which, if approved by the judge, would allow prosecutors to increase the maximum sentence he could receive if convicted.
The longest someone can be held in the juvenile criminal justice system is until they turn 21. However, if the boy is convicted as a serious youth offender, Spicer could give him a suspended adult sentence of 15 years to life, plus an additional three years since the crime allegedly involved a gun. That would mean that if he were to get in trouble while in detention, he could be made to serve the adult sentence in an adult prison after he turns 21.
The boy remains detained at the Central Ohio Youth Center in Marysville.
In the early morning hours of April 23, the boy called 911 and told a dispatcher he shot Reece after Reece threatened the boy and his mother with a shotgun. The boy’s mother later told the dispatcher her son shot Reece a second time while he laid bleeding on the ground to make sure he was dead.