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

  • February 7
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 7
    'Joy' at the playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 7
    Read to a dog at the library
    2 to 3 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 7
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 8
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 8
    Beeline beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 9
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities Development
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 9
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • February 9
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 9
    Peaceful Valley Heritage meeting
    6:30 p.m. BC Community Foundation, 209 N. Van Buren St.
  • February 9
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 9
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 9
    Van Buren VFD
    6 p.m. VBVFD station, 4040 State Road 135 South
  • February 9
    B.C. Fair Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 9
    BC Health Septic Review Commission
    10 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 10
    Sanders group meeting at library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • February 11
    CSCD Water Commission
    5 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • February 11
    LEGO Club
    11 a.m., 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 11
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 11
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 11
    Photography club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 11
    Jackson Township Advisory Board
    6:30 p.m. Jackson Fire Dept., 4831 Helmsburg Rd.
  • February 12
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 12
    Dave Miller at sports bar
    6 to 8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 13
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 13
    Farm-to-Fifth tours at distillery
    11 a.m. to 5 p.m. hourly Bear Wallow Distillery, 4484 E. Old State Road 46, Gnaw Bone
  • February 13
    Quaff N Brew beer school at brewery
    11 a.m. Big Woods Brewery, 60 Molly's Lane
  • February 13
    Church breakfast free to community
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • February 13
    BC Parks & Rec youth basketball
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 13
    BCHS boys basketball
    6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 13
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 13
    Widowed group
    2:30 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 14
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 14
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 15
    Nashville/Brown County Government Offices CLOSED
  • February 15
    BC Public Library Board of Trustees
    6 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 15
    Countywide summit on children scheduled
    9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 15
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 16
    BC Convention & Visitors Bureau
    8:30 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 16
    CSCD Board of Directors
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • February 16
    Brown County Council
    6:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 16
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 16
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 16
    Hamblen Township Board
    6:30 p.m. Hickory Ridge Community Center, 2314 Hickory Ridge Lane off Hornettown Road
  • February 16
    Nashville Development Review Commission
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 16
    Nashville Police Merit Commission
    6 p.m. Nashville Police Station, 200 Hawthorne Dr.
  • February 17
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 17
    BC Commissioners
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 17
    Sanders group meeting at library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 17
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees executive session
    6 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 17
    B.C. Election Board
    2 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    LEGO Club
    11 a.m., 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    Nashville Town Council
    6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 18
    BC Corrections Advisory Board
    4 p.m. Veterans Hall, 902 Deer Run Lane
  • February 18
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 18
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 18
    Helmsburg Sewage Board
    7 p.m. BC Community Church, 2370 Main St., Helmsburg
  • February 19
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 20
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 20
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 20
    'Bourbon Experience' at distillery
    10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bear Wallow Distillery, 4484 E. Old State Road 46, Gnaw Bone
  • February 20
    BC Parks & Rec youth basketball
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 21
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 21
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 22
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 22
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 23
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 23
    Family history workshop offered at the library
    1 to 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 23
    Live music at sports bar
    8 p.m. to midnight Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 23
    BC Area Plan Commission
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 23
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 23
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 24
    BC Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 24
    BC Parks & Rec Board
    5:15 p.m. Parks & Rec Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • February 24
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 25
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 25
    Brown County/Purdue Extension Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 26
    Nashville Development Review Commission
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 26
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 27
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 27
    BC Parks & Rec youth basketball
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 28
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 29
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 29
    Photography club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 1
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 1
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • March 1
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 1
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 2
    BC Soil & Water District
    5 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 2
    BC Commissioners
    9 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 2
    Nashville Main Street Committee
    9:30 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 2
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • March 3
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • March 3
    CSCD Ecology Commission
    6 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 3
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees executive session
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 Schoolhouse Lane
  • March 5
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 7
    4-H Council
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 7
    Gnaw Bone Sewage Board
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 8
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 8
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 8
    B.C. Fair Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 9
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • March 10
    BC Convention & Visitors Commission
    8:30 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 10
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 10
    CSCD Water Commission
    5 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 15
    BC Board of Health
    7 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 15
    BC Convention & Visitors Bureau
    8:30 a.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • March 16
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District Board
    6 p.m. Benton Township Senior Center, 7616 E. State Road 45, Unionville
  • March 17
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 Schoolhouse Lane
  • March 23
    BC Parks & Rec Board
    5:15 p.m. Parks & Rec Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • March 23
    BC Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 28
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 4
    Gnaw Bone Sewage Board
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 5
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • April 5
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • April 6
    BC Soil & Water District
    6:30 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • April 6
    BC Local Emergency Planning Committee/Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. Ambulance base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • April 6
    BC Commissioners
    9 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane