August 5, 2009, at 2:30 p.m., in the Juvenile Justice Center of Butler County, court was called to order in the case of Butler County verses the assailant who set Walter on fire. The juvenile prosecutor swore in his first witness. “Have you interviewed the accused and his family? “ Yes. “Did you explain to him his rights?” Yes. “Did he understand his rights?” Yes. Thus began the first hearing for the young man who set another human being on fire.
The assailant sat at the witness table, with his lawyer, quietly watching the proceedings, his parents sat just to his right.
He then asked, “What do you recommend be done with the accused in this case?” It was a question, that until now no one had asked and one that caused the entire room to collectively hold their breath. “ Due to the nature of the crime and it’s seriousness, we recommend that the accused be tried in the general court as an adult.” No further questions.
Call your next witness, the judge said.
He then asked the District Attorney, “If we dismiss the juvenile charges, will you charge this young man as an adult?” “Yes”., and what would be the charges? “Either a class A felony, which carries a penalty of 15yrs to life or a class B felony which carries a penalty of 5 to 15 yrs.” Thank you, no further questions.
From all reports coming from the family, from the rumors coming out of the police dept. Butler County Justice had just done a complete 180. Gone was the juvenile charge that would have amounted to 90 days in “juvie” and release on his birthday, gone, in just over two hours, what seemed at first a perverted justice that would somehow make this the victims fault.
It’s not over yet, not by a long shot, the judge still has to rule (he has set a date of August 19th for his ruling) , trial dates have to be set, more testimony is yet to be given and a verdict is yet to be rendered but all in all it seemed a good day for justice in Butler County.
Walter still faces assault charges from the earlier incident, which we still say he was at best only a witness and believe those charges should be dropped. Maybe that will be settled in court on Sept. 2nd 2009, Walters new court date.