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Court finds cause for 14-year-old shooting suspect case to proceed, bound over for trial

The 14-year-old suspect appeared for a preliminary hearing Thursday
Posted at 10:01 AM, Jul 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-14 11:01:38-04

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — A 14-year-old charged with first-degree intentional homicide, party to a crime, was bound over for trial at a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon. Because of his age, NBC 26 is not naming the defendant at this time.

The 14-year-old is charged with a shooting in May that killed one person and injured several others.

The hearing featured testimony from a Fond du Lac Police Department detective, who reviewed surveillance footage and interviews from witnesses.

The state said there was adequate evidence to send the case to trial, but the defense brought up concerns about the defendant’s age and the degree of his involvement in the crime.

“It's not a question of whether there's probable cause that [the defendant] committed a felony, like it is with adults,” defense attorney Jeffrey Jensen said. “The specific question here is whether there's probable cause to believe that [the defendant] committed either first degree intentional homicide directly, or as party to a crime, second degree intentional homicide, either directly or party to a crime, or first degree reckless homicide, either directly or as party to the crime. If it's some other offense, then there's no jurisdiction in the adult court.”

The detective said surveillance video showed the 14-year-old defendant and 17-year-old Antonio Johnston — who is still evading police — leave a building.

The detective said witnesses identified both Johnston and the 14-year-old shooting at five people who were taking out garbage.

The state says this evidence is adequate to suggest that this case should go to trial.

“The state is asking the court to specifically find probable cause for first degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime based on the testimony of detective Meilahn, which includes the surveillance footage,” Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney said.

The defendant is now in adult court, but whether he will stand trial as an adult will be decided at a future court appearance.

Police are still searching for Johnston.