A 16-year-old boy convicted in the molestation and slaying of a 6-year-old northern Indiana girl was sentenced Friday to 64 years in prison.
St. Joseph Superior Judge Jeffrey Sanford sentenced Anthony Hutchens to 55 years for murder and nine years for child molestation, with the sentences to be served consecutively. The judge had convicted Hutchens in January on both felony counts following a bench trial.
Grace Ross was found dead in March 2021 in a wooded area near her home at an apartment complex in New Carlisle, west of South Bend. She had been strangled and molested and had blunt force injuries.
Sanford ordered Hutchens on Friday to be held in a juvenile detention facility until between his 18th and 21st birthdays. After that, his case will be reviewed and a determination will be made for if or how long he spends time in prison as an adult, the South Bend Tribune reported.
Hutchens will have to register as a sex offender following his release from prison.
An autopsy by a forensic pathologist found Grace’s cause of death to be homicide by asphyxiation and revealed blunt force injuries.
Hutchens, who was 14 at the time of Grace’s death, was tried as an adult. Following his conviction, Hutchens’ attorney said he would appeal the verdict based on his contention that the trial should have been held in juvenile court.