Teen stabbing case lingers on

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The case of a young male charged in connection with the stabbing of a teen more than two years ago in Waterloo’s Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School playground remains in limbo following an appellate court ruling.

Shortly before the Waterloo Homecoming parade was about to start the afternoon of Aug. 24, 2019, police said a 14-year-old boy stabbed another 14-year-old boy, resulting in serious injuries. 

The victim had been stabbed in the torso and his aorta was 80 percent severed, doctors said, in addition to cuts on his head and hand. 

Fortunately, he survived.

Shortly after the incident, a 14-year-old Monroe County boy was charged as a juvenile with two counts of armed violence and one count of aggravated battery in connection with the incident. 

The Monroe County State’s Attorneys Office made an effort to either have the teen who did the stabbing tried either as an adult or have the case proceed under an “extended jurisdiction juvenile” designation.

In an EJJ prosecution, a trial takes place and if a guilty verdict is reached, the court can impose both juvenile and adult sentences, staying the adult sentence on the condition that the minor not violate provisions of the juvenile sentence.

The presiding judge in this case, Judge Julia Gomric, ruled in October 2019 on the Monroe County State’s Attorney’s motion that the state “failed to prove that the requested transfer to adult court was appropriate,” per court information, and denied both the adult and EJJ prosecution requests.

On Oct. 30, 2019, the Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office filed with the Fifth District Appellate Court in Mt. Vernon, claiming Judge Gomric did not apply the proper legal standard to the EJJ motion, rather assuming that by denying adult status  it necessitated EJJ denial.

In a decision delivered this summer by presiding Judge Mark M. Boie with justices  Thomas Welch and Barry Vaughan concurring, the appellate court ruled that “the trial court’s decision conflated two distinct considerations and burdens of proof between the two motions. The trial court was required to treat each motion separately. Because the trial court did not do this with respect to the state’s motion to designate the proceedings as an EJJ prosecution, its denial was an abuse of discretion.”

The appellate court ordered Judge Gomric’s decision reversed, sending it back to Monroe County Circuit Court to reconsider the state’s motion for an EJJ prosecution “under the appropriate legal standard.”

The next court date on this matter is set for 11 a.m. Nov. 3. Gomric is the presiding judge again.

The attorney representing the teen charged in this case is TJ Matthes of the St. Louis law firm Rosenblum, Schwartz & Fry.

In August, Matthes successfully defended Kyle Roider of Waterloo, who was charged with first degree murder and aggravated battery in the January 2019 shooting of Steven Becker but found not guilty at trial.

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