PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia judge has ruled that a teen charged in last summer’s murder of an 87-year-old man should be tried as a juvenile, taking the maximum adult penalty of life in prison off the table (see previous story).
Von Combs, 14 at the time of the crime, and 17-year-old India Spellman allegedly murdered World War II veteran George Greaves during a robbery. Greaves had been cutting the lawn at his West Oak Lane home at the time.
Both have pleaded not guilty, and in statements to police blame each other for the shooting.
But Judge Benjamin Lerner has found, based on his review of the evidence, that Combs probably was not the shooter and that there is a sufficient likelihood of successful treatment and rehabilitation.
In addition, the defense argued that Combs would benefit from treatment in the juvenile system, and that he had not gotten proper support earlier despite a horrific childhood. The boy had witnessed his mother shot when he was four, and he was later thrown out and was living on the streets.
The prosecution argued that earlier contacts with the system shows Combs is not amenable to treatment.
Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060