Nobody covers Brown County like The Democrat Buy PDF| Advertise| Contact Us
Hoosier Harvest Cookbook
 
Helmsburg murder
 
At 13, suspect causes juvenile, adult dilemma
Published on: 04.13.09

Last year, Blade Reed attended elementary school.

Now, at age 13, he spends his days at Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center, accused of murder.

In the early morning of Nov. 15, Blade Reed and his brother, Bennie, 17, rode their bicycles for less than a mile from their rural northwestern Brown County home to 8406 Lick Creek Road to steal alcohol, according to court documents.

Before morning broke, one of the home’s occupants, Richard “Dude” Voland, an 84-year-old Eli Lilly retiree, was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

His wife, 77-year-old Mary Voland, had been shot in the abdomen, and her neck had been cut with a knife — but she was still alive.

Shortly after 5 a.m., Mary ran out the back door to the nearby home of her sister-in-law, Mary Jane Richards, who called 911.

Authorities allege that Bennie fired both shots, and that Blade cut Mary Voland’s neck.

Both have been charged with murdering Richard Voland and with attempting to murder Mary Voland.

Bennie’s case will be handled in adult court, because Indiana law requires that anyone older than 16 and charged with serious offenses, such as rape, kidnapping and murder, be charged as an adult.

But Blade’s case is causing some consternation among those involved in the justice system: What to do with a 13-year-old who is accused of murder and attempted murder?

Judge’s dilemma

In Indiana, the burden of proof as to whether a juvenile should be tried in juvenile or adult court rests sometimes with the prosecution — but also sometimes with the defense, depending on the offender’s age, the crime and other circumstances.

Sometimes the prosecutor has to prove, among other things, that “the child is beyond rehabilitation under the juvenile justice system.”

In other cases, the defense has to prove that “it would be in the best interests of the child and of the safety and welfare of the community for the child to remain within the juvenile justice system.”

In Blade’s case, the burden rests with the defense because of the charges’ severity.

Blade’s attorney, Jim Roberts of Nashville said that Blade’s case should be handled in juvenile court because it is in his best interest and because nothing in his history says that he poses a danger to society.

Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver said Reed should serve time in an adult prison because the penalties in the juvenile justice system are insufficient for the severity of the crime.

If Blade is found guilty he could:

Serve less than a year if the case remains in juvenile court. Though the judge could impose a longer sentence if the case remains in juvenile court, Blade would be released no later than his 18th birthday.

Face a sentence of at least 45 years in prison if the case remains in adult court.

“I don’t like either of the options here,” Brown Circuit Court Judge Judith Stewart said at a recent court hearing after she had listened to both sides.

Blade quietly sat next to Roberts during the hearing, often looking on the floor. He wore black slacks and shoes, a blue-grey camouflage jacket, a white shirt and a tie with diagonal blue and white stripes.

He wore thin metal-frame glasses. He had short, brown hair.

Roberts and Oliver agree on at least one thing: Blade’s case is unusual.

Oliver said in his 16 years prosecuting cases, he had never before charged a 13-year-old with murder.

Roberts said he has not handled a case like this in his 41 years in criminal law.

“This is probably the most difficult case the judge, the prosecutor and (I) will have participated in in our careers,” Roberts said.

Oliver said, “It’s a huge decision for the court, and it’s a tough decision.

“My decision to seek a waiver (to adult court) was not terribly difficult when I considered the crime,” he said.

Balance

Oliver said that in his career he did not recall a juvenile having committed a serious offense without any prior contact with juvenile probation.

Typically, when Oliver determines whether he wants to try to have a juvenile waived to adult court, he pays particular attention to community safety and the crime’s severity.

He said he looks at the juvenile’s prior involvement with the system, whether rehabilitation attempts have worked, whether the juvenile complied with the prescribed rehabilitation and whether other programs have not yet been tried.

In cases in which the prosecution carries the burden of proving that a juvenile is beyond rehabilitation, Oliver said he can think of few situations in which he would seek to have a juvenile offender waived to adult court if that offender has not had any prior contact with juvenile probation.

During the recent waiver hearing, Donna Bishop, professor at Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice, testified that juveniles whose cases remain in the juvenile system are less likely to commit crimes upon their release than juveniles whose cases are waived to adult court.

Bishop said that recidivism rates fell further if the juvenile was especially young and had not previously been in trouble with the law.

Oliver said that Bishop’s testimony does not change Indiana law, which says that the juvenile court “shall waive” Blade’s case “unless it would be in the best interests of the child and of the safety and welfare of the community for the child to remain within the juvenile justice system.”

If Bishop wants to change Indiana law, she should talk to the Legislature, Oliver said.

Roberts said that the Legislature typically reacts to shocking cases by taking away judges’ discretion, which he believes is a mistake.

The Legislature should not make blanket requirements in juvenile cases, he said.

Some 14-year-olds have a mental age of 19, while other 14-year-olds have a mental age of 12, Roberts said. Adolescents’ mental age is not consistent with calendar age.

“Every case is different,” he said.

When legislators enact inflexible rules, it shows that they look at the world through black-and-white lenses, Roberts said.

“But it’s a Technicolor world.”

Twist

In Blade’s case, the law may be even less flexible than Brown County officials initially thought.

Oliver said that the judge is researching whether the law requires that Blade be charged as an adult for the robbery and murder charges — and as a juvenile for the attempted murder charge.

“It’s an odd twist in the law,” Oliver said.

Stewart has ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Blade. A decision on the waiver is not expected until May.

Members of the Voland and Reed families declined to be interviewed.


<< Back

  • May 7
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 7
    Quartet featured with gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • May 7
    CSCD Ecology Commission
    6 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • May 7
    Bluebird Club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 7
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 School House Lane
  • May 7
    Art alliance to meet at library
    5 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 7
    Go Club at the library
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 8
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 8
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 9
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • May 9
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • May 9
    Widowed group
    2:30 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • May 9
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • May 9
    Lions Club breakfast at Parkview church annex
    7 to 10:30 a.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • May 9
    Open house conducted at New Song
    9 to 11 a.m. New Song Mission, 7202 Keith Donaldson Road, Freetown
  • May 9
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 10
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    Noon to 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • May 11
    BC Election Board
    2 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • May 11
    Beeline beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 12
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • May 12
    Peaceful Valley Heritage meeting
    6:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 12
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • May 12
    Van Buren Fire Board
    6 p.m. Van Buren Fire Station, 4040 State Road 135 South
  • May 12
    BC Genealogical Society
    6:30 to 8 p.m. Bartholomew County Public Library, 536 Fifth St., Columbus
  • May 12
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive; CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • May 12
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • May 12
    Conference center grand opening slated
    5 to 7 p.m. Creekside Retreat, 2450 State Road 46 East
  • May 13
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • May 13
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • May 14
    Go Club at the library
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 14
    Local Coordinating Council
    8 a.m. Comm. Corrections Office, Suite B, lower level of Veterans Hall, 902 Deer Run Lane,
  • May 14
    Gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • May 14
    BC photography club
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 15
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 15
    Indiana Freedom Fest at music park
    6:30 p.m. to midnight Bill Monroe Music Park, 5163 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 15
    'The Odd Couple' at The Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 15
    Live band at dance barn
    8 to 11 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • May 15
    Guided flower walk at BCSP
    2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • May 15
    Live band at sports bar
    8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • May 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • May 16
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • May 16
    Rock & mineral club
    6 p.m. Extension Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • May 16
    Historic site hosts outdoor art contest
    7 a.m. to 4 p.m. TC Steele State Historic Site, 4220 T.C. Steele Road, Belmont
  • May 16
    Nature and photo tours set at Stone Head
    5:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. House at Stone Head, State Road 135 South T
  • May 16
    Taste of Brown County set at Courthouse grounds
    Noon to 5 p.m. Courthouse grounds and parking area, Buck Stogsdill Way and East Main Street
  • May 16
    'The Odd Couple' at The Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 16
    Dawg Gone Walk/ Fiesta
    12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Deer Run Park
  • May 16
    Saturday at Brown County State Park
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • May 16
    Indiana Freedom Fest at music park
    3 p.m. to midnight Bill Monroe Music Park, 5163 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 16
    Residents can recycle tires
    8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 176 Old State Road 46 at Greasy Creek Road
  • May 16
    Dinner theater at inn
    6:30 p.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 16
    Live music at sports bar
    8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • May 17
    Nature and photo tours set at Stone Head
    5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. House at Stone Head, State Road 135 South T
  • May 17
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    Noon to 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • May 17
    Paint a wine glass at local winery
    11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 to 4 p.m Brown County Winery, 4520 State Road 46 East
  • May 18
    Essential oil class at tea shop
    6 p.m. Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • May 19
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • May 19
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • May 19
    Solar energy info program at the library
    6 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 20
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • May 21
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 21
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 21
    Gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • May 22
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 23
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • May 23
    Art class set for fourth Saturday at winery
    3 to 5 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 27
    BC Sheriff's Merit Board
    4 p.m. Sheriff's Office, Law Enforcement Center, 55 State Road 46 East
  • May 29
    Farmers market reopens in Bean Bean Blossom
    4 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, 11 State Road 45 at 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • June 5
    Strawberry fest during farmers market
    4 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, 11 State Road 45 at 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • June 6
    Shrine parade celebrates summer
    11 a.m. downtown Nashville
  • June 15
    Essential oil class at tea shop
    6 p.m. Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • June 20
    Pollinator Awareness Day at state park Nature Center
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)