by naomi martin
Advocate staff writer
July 04, 2012
The teenager accused of shooting Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe’s 15-year-old son during a robbery pleaded innocent Friday, his attorney said.
Tyler Coleman, 17, appeared at an arraignment Friday before state District Lou Daniel, said Bruce Craft, Coleman’s attorney.
Coleman and his alleged accomplice, Terrance Thornton, 19, are accused of setting up Loupe and his two friends to be robbed while the trio tried to buy marijuana Feb. 13 in the 1600 block of Mary Lou Drive, court documents show. Loupe’s son, Thomas, was shot in the chest during the attempted robbery, police have said.
Thornton is charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery.
The state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal approved adult-court prosecution on June 6 for Coleman, who was 16 years old at the time of the shooting.
Craft said he intends to file paperwork next week that will ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to overturn the appellate court’s decision.
“We’re still in the process of taking the matter to state Supreme Court, but in the interim, we’ll move forward in adult court,” Craft said.
However, age was not the question decided by the appellate court on June 6, which ruled that East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III is permitted by state law to charge a minor as an adult in advance of a Juvenile Court hearing on that issue.
Once the district attorney charged Coleman as an adult, the 1st Circuit panel ruled, “the child was subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the district court, and the child should have been transferred to the appropriate adult facility for detention.”
In Louisiana, conviction as a juvenile would mean that Coleman could not be held past his 21st birthday and would serve any term of incarceration at a juvenile detention facility. Conviction as an adult on charges of attempted second-degree murder and armed robbery would mean Coleman could face up to 99 years in an adult prison.