STRUTHERS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge is to decide soon whether a 17-year-old defendant should be tried as an adult on charges in a shooting earlier this year that left a 4-year-old boy dead and four adults wounded.
The youth taken into custody last month by the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force in Youngstown is the second person arrested in the shooting early Sept. 21 in Struthers.
Prosecutors have asked that he be tried as an adult on an aggravated robbery charge and gun specification. The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports that a Mahoning County juvenile court judge is expected to decide the issue on or before a Jan. 11 hearing.
Kimonie Bryant, 24, of Struthers, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other counts and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Authorities have said two suspects entered the home, apparently planning to steal cash, and the gunfire then began. The child, Rowan Sweeney, was sleeping on a couch where his mother was sitting, and authorities say she covered the boy with her body and begged the assailants not to shoot her son. She and three men were wounded.
Rowan’s father, David Sweeney, who called on the shooter to surrender hours after the child was killed, has since issued a statement thanking the community for their “overwhelming support.” Fundraising for a community park in Rowan’s memory has been going on with no location chosen as yet.
“Our world will never be the same without our Rowan, but we will make sure his name and spirit carries on forever through the park and fund,” Sweeney said.