On Monday, March 22 a 14-year-old boy made his first appearance in juvenile court.
During the proceedings the prosecution filed a petition for delinquency against him which contained three charges; murder, felony murder, and child molestation for the March12 death of 6-year-old Grace Ross.
The boy has not been named publicly as his case is still under the jurisdiction of juvenile court. Should his case be moved to superior court, he would then be named.
His defense attorney filed a motion asking that future court proceedings be closed to the public due to the high-profile nature of the case, at least until psychological evaluations can be conducted.
When Probate court magistrate Graham Polando asked the boy if he understood what he was being accused of the boy reportedly answered saying, "I don't understand much of what's going on." When asked to specify which parts he didn't understand he said, the "child molestation part."
His next conference date is scheduled for April 19 and he has a hearing scheduled for May 13 according to ABC 57 to determine whether or not the case will be moved to superior court.
Between now and the next status hearing there are to be competency and psychological evaluations that will help the St. Joseph County prosecutor Chris Fronk determine whether or not the case should be moved to adult court.
"In juvenile court there are a lot of options that aren't available in adult court." Front told the South Bend Tribune. "We want to make sure whatever course we take is well-thought out, well-reasoned and the best court to ensure we are seeking justice and protecting the community."