In a verdict reached after nearly seven hours of deliberation on Thursday, October 5, 2023, jurors in Johnson County Court at Law No. 1 found a 12-year-old boy delinquent, equivalent to guilty, on a murder charge. The boy's identity and the details of his three-day trial were kept confidential due to his age.
The charges stemmed from an incident earlier this year, when Keene police arrested the boy in connection with a shooting death that occurred on May 13 at a Sonic restaurant on Old Betsy. The victim, an employee at Sonic, was shot after comfronting an disorderly adult in the restaurant's parking lot. The 12-year-old boy, who was in the vehicle with his adult Aunt and Uncle, fired multiple shots, striking the victim.
Following the incident, the boy and his relatives fled the scene, prompting a police investigation. Law enforcement officers later located the boy in Rio Vista and took him into custody. During the arrest, several firearms were recovered at the scene.
The sentencing phase of the trial is scheduled for Thursday. County Court at Law No. 1 Judge John Neill will hear from witnesses and attorneys before determining the boy's sentence.
The Johnson County Sheriff's Office indicated that they can't share more information on the details of the investigation due to the suspect(s) being a minor and the possibility of dditional charges and trials in the future.