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Helmsburg murder
 
Judge mulls waiving boy to adult court in homicide
Published on: 07.18.09

 A judge has taken under consideration whether to waive a 13-year-old boy to adult court to face trial in the murder of an 84-year-old Brown County man.

Brown Circuit Court Judge Judith Stewart said she will issue a written opinion possibly sometime next week on whether to try Blade Reed, 13, of Helmsburg, as an adult or juvenile.

Reed is charged in the murder of Richard “Dude” Voland and accused of injuring the man’s wife, Mary, in November.

His 17-year-old brother, Bennie Reed, who also is charged with murder and other charges, is scheduled for trial as an adult Aug. 17.

Stewart said she easily could conclude that Reed would receive the best treatment through the juvenile court system, but that she must deliberate over what is in the best interest of the community.

If Reed proceeds through the juvenile system, he could be released in a maximum of five years, when he turns 18.

A conviction in adult court would require a much longer sentence at a state prison with older inmates, but he could be released before he turns 40.

A court-appointed psychiatrist testified in Reed’s defense and recommended that Reed remain in the juvenile system.

Tonya Foreman characterized Reed as quiet, anxious, immature, emotionally restrictive, socially isolated, impulsive, vulnerable and easily influenced by others.

He suffers from hyperactivity and isolation from children his age, she said, and could improve his behavior with medication.

If convicted as an adult and sent to a state prison, Reed would learn from and follow the lead of other inmates, Foreman said.

“He will easily be exploited by older, rougher inmates,” she said.

Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver argued that Foreman’s testimony was biased toward keeping Reed in the juvenile system because the psychiatrist never contacted the prosecutor’s office or Mary Voland for information about the case.

Oliver called Foreman an advocate for keeping all juveniles out of adult courts and said she started with that belief instead of coming to a conclusion in Reed’s case.

Basing his argument on state statutes, Oliver said juveniles are presumed to go to adult court if they are older than 10 when alleged to have committed a serious offense.

Reed was not influenced by his older brother to rob the Voland home but acted as a co-conspirator, Oliver said.

He said keeping Reed in the juvenile system would amount to an injustice and potential threat to Mary Voland and the community.

“I can’t imagine the prison that Mary Voland will be in, that the community as a whole will be in” if Reed is released by his 18th birthday, Oliver said.

Roberts argued that Oliver argued for vindictive justice rather than showing that Reed is a menace to the community.

He called Reed a “sick” child with no criminal record who has “fallen through the cracks.”

Reed has five more years to develop into an adult and become a productive member of society, he said.

If he ends up in the state prison system, he will miss out on social development and learn morality from adult, male prisoners, Roberts said.

Locking up Reed as an adult at age 13 would lead to him being made into “a monster” to be unleashed on society when he is a middle-aged man.

“He’s sick,” Roberts said. “He’s curable, he’s treatable, and he’s just a child.”

At a glance

Previously: Blade Reed, 13, is charged in the murder of an 84-year-old Brown County man and with injuring the man’s wife in November.

Now: Brown Circuit Court Judge Judith Stewart has taken under advisement whether to try Reed as an adult or as a juvenile.

Next: The judge said she would issue a written order, possibly sometime next week.


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