Prosecutors seek to move case against teen accused of molesting, strangling girl into adult court

A 15-year-old northern Indiana boy accused of molesting and killing a 6-year-old girl should be tried as an adult, prosecutors said Monday.

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office filed a petition to have the teenager’s case moved to superior court, where he would be tried as an adult and receive a harsher sentence if convicted.

St. Joseph Probate Court Magistrate Judge Graham Polando has not yet scheduled a hearing to consider the petition to waive the case to superior court.

The prosecutor’s office said it decided to file the petition after reviewing the circumstances and evidence in the case and talking to the victim’s family.

Proceedings against the boy have been continuing in probate court since March, when he was charged with molesting and strangling Grace Ross on March 12 in a wooded area near New Carlisle. Court documents state the boy, then 14, told police a “shadowy man” controlled him and made him strangle Ross after she had followed him into the woods.

Prosecutors and the boy’s attorneys agreed last month the boy was competent.

Indiana law states a probate court shall waive jurisdiction to superior court in cases that would involve felonies if committed by an adult “unless it would be in the best interests of the child and the safety and welfare of the community for the child to remain within the juvenile justice system.”

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