A Little Rock teenager wounded in an April shootout with another teen, who was also shot, must stand trial as an adult on a first-degree battery charge, a Pulaski County circuit judge ruled Thursday.
Judge Leon Johnson denied 17-year-old Andris McClendon's petition to be transferred to juvenile court. The judge cited the violent nature of the accusations and said he was not sure that McClendon could be rehabilitated through the programs and services offered by the juvenile justice system. The Class B felony charge carries up to 20 years in prison.
Testifying at Thursday's hearing, detective Roy Williams said McClendon admitted to shooting at 17-year-old Jalen Rahmad Hussian because he thought the Little Rock resident had started shooting at him and a friend.
Williams told the judge that McClendon, in a police interview, said he never saw Hussian with a gun.
McClendon told police that he and a friend he knows only as "Little Greg" were sitting on the porch of a house on West 27th Street visiting when they heard shots, the detective testified.
McClendon said he didn't know who owned the residence, telling police they had just chosen the spot for its convenience while they chatted, Williams said.
Both youths fired at the only person they could see, who turned out to be Hussian, Williams said. Little Greg was the first to fire, the detective said.
McClendon told police he assumed Hussian was doing the shooting because he was the only other person in sight, the detective testified.
The area around the intersection of West 27th and Washington streets is a "gang area," frequented by the Monroe Street Hustlers, Williams told the judge.
Although McClendon is not known to police as a gang member, investigators consider him to be affiliated with a neighboring gang, Murder Mob, because McClendon has been known to be friends with some of its members. The Mob operates in a neighborhood a few blocks north of the shooting site, Williams testified.
McClendon was shot through the left foot during the gunfire, but police don't know who wounded him. Williams told the judge he thinks Little Greg accidentally shot McClendon.
Hussian was shot in the right leg. He told police he knew McClendon because they both attended Hamilton Learning Academy, the detective said.
Police found two of the guns used in the shootout hidden in an outdoor grill behind a home in the 4300 block of West 29th Street.
Officers had been directed there by a witness who said he saw three young men, one of whom stashed weapons in the grill after the gunfire, the detective said.
At Thursday's hearing, defense attorney Lou Marczuk suggested that Hussian and a man who was with him, Nykian Raines of Little Rock, resembled two of those three men.
Raines was also wearing a Real Hustlers Inc. T-shirt, which Williams said could be an indicator that Raines is affiliated with the Monroe Street Hustlers.
Raines, 20, has since been charged in the June drive-by shooting of a 7-year-old Little Rock boy on Washington Street, accused by police of being the driver of the car. Another man is accused of firing the gun.
Raines has also been linked to 17-year-old Larry James Jackson of North Little Rock, who is one of two suspects charged with capital murder over accusations they are responsible for the Thanksgiving slaying of a 2-year-old girl, Ramiya Reed, in Little Rock.
In the McClendon case, police had originally been called to the shooting scene in the 4400 block of West 27th to investigate complaints about an exchange of gunfire between two drivers who had crashed there, Williams said. But that report turned out to be wrong, he testified.
What police determined happened was that the 2012 Toyota Camry that Hussian had been riding in had crashed into a parked car on the street when the gunfire broke out, the detective said. Hussian said he ran from the car when the shooting started.
The car, which had been stolen, had several bullet holes in it, but investigators don't know whether any of that damage was inflicted during the shooting or had occurred earlier, Williams told the judge.
McClendon was 16 at the time of the shooting. Prosecutors opted to charge him as an adult and opposed the transfer motion.
Deputy prosecutor Grayson Hinojosa questioned the effectiveness of the juvenile system in dealing with teenagers accused of violent crimes, noting that the Department of Human Services, which administers the system, keeps no meaningful statistics on how effective its rehabilitation programs are.
He also noted that the agency's Youth Services Division continues a practice of incarcerating violent and nonviolent offenders together, which can subject impressionable teens to malicious influences at a time when children are particularly susceptible to peer pressure.
McClendon did not testify. He was arrested the day after the shooting and is currently free on bond.
He has no criminal record, and his lawyer submitted character references from educators at Hamilton Learning Academy where he has been a student. Submitting endorsements were Principal Cassandra Green, Assistant Principal Reginald Knighton and teacher Ginger Beck, head of the English department.
Metro on 09/23/2017
Print Headline: Shooting suspect faces adult trial; Judge rejects 17-year-old’s bid for juvenile court transfer