Court proceedings involving a 14-year-old boy charged in the asphyxiation death of a 6-year-old northern Indiana girl will remain open to the public, a magistrate has ruled.
Attorneys for the boy had filed a motion to close public access, arguing that the high-profile nature of Grace Ross’ killing could introduce “prejudice” into their client’s case. The teen is charged in juvenile court with murder and child molestation.
St. Joseph County Probate Court Magistrate Graham Polando wrote in Wednesday night’s ruling that Indiana law is clear that juvenile court proceedings are public if the alleged offense would be murder or a felony if committed by an adult.
Polando’s ruling, however, specifies that hearings in which psychiatrists or other mental health care professionals expect to testify will be closed.
He also postponed a May 13 hearing to determine whether the boy’s case will be moved to adult court after the parties sought more time to analyze the results of the mental health evaluations.
Grace Ross was found dead March 12 in a wooded area in New Carlisle, about 15 miles west of South Bend, around two hours after she was reported missing.
An autopsy determined her cause of death was homicide by asphyxiation.