Five teenagers charged with beating Terence Reese and breaking his jaw in March will have to keep waiting to find out whether they'll be tried in Superior Court -- which would have them facing prison sentences seven times longer than they could be given as minors.
A juvenile court hearing Friday ended with Judge Willie Saunders pledging to release a written decision on whether to try the teens -- Ross Nipple, 15; Berten Blockett, 16; Joshua Plowright, 14; Mark Daniel Richard Musick, 14; and Brandon Mansson, 14 -- as adults, but not stating a specific timetable for the decision.
If convicted of aggravated battery and criminal gang activity in juvenile court, they could be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for a maximum of five years, with the department deciding at what point they could be released or placed on probation.
But in Superior Court the aggravated battery charge carries a sentence of one to 20 years, and the gang charge a sentence of five to 15 years.
On the final day of the hearing -- which was postponed last week -- attorneys listened as two psychologists testified to the teens' dispositions and mental fitness. Dr. Adrienne Davis, a forensic psychologist with East Central Regional Hospital, said Plowright suffers from ADHD, depression and had attended special education classes since the third grade.
Musick has an IQ of 127 -- in the superior range -- and Davis recommended he be in a mentorship program and be enrolled in classes that support his academic strengths. She also advised therapy and substance-abuse counseling for the teen.
Dr. Joseph Frey, a private-practice psychologist who examined some of the teens, said Blockett seemed "egocentric," prone to aggressive behavior and has little understanding of the impact of his actions on others.
Mansson suffers from a form of conduct disorder, in which he displays disregard for "people, persons and animals."
But in other tests he expressed a "sense of regret" for the beating, Frey said. Nipple was polite but superficial.
"His stories contained themes of lost family conflict as well as stories of violence and aggression," Frey said.
Cyrus King, an intake worker for the Department of Juvenile Justice, testified that he felt the teens could be treated within the juvenile justice system based solely on their lack of previous criminal history.
Authorities allege that four of the suspects -- Blockett, Plowright, Mansson and Musick -- are members of the Apple Valley Posse gang, based off Mike Padgett Highway, while Nipple claimed to be in the Bloods gang.
The teens are accused of ruthlessly beating Reese as he was walking home from school on Circular Drive in an activity called "locking down the block."
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