ST. FRANCISVILLE — The attorney for a teenager accused of first-degree murder in the June 2010 throat-slashing death of an 8-year-old boy filed a motion Monday to throw out the indictment against his client, citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on juvenile sentences.
Trevor Reese, now 19, is scheduled for trial next month in the death of Jackson Attuso, who was killed on a bike and hiking path at The Bluffs on Thompson Creek subdivision.
Reese was 16 when Attuso was killed. Reese has pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity.”
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that a murder statute that mandates a life sentence without probation, parole or sentence suspension is unconstitutional. An earlier Supreme Court ruling prohibits juvenile offenders from receiving the death penalty.
The motion by defense attorney Lewis Unglesby, of Baton Rouge, says, “There is no legal sentence for this defendant and no prosecution can ensue.”
The motion points out that another Supreme Court ruling prohibits sentencing a juvenile to life without parole when the defendant commits a crime other than homicide, such as aggravated rape.
In response, the Legislature passed an act allowing for parole consideration when the juvenile did not commit first- or second-degree murder, the motion says.
“But nothing exists for homicide crimes today,” the motion adds.
“Where a penalty has not been endorsed through full legislative consideration, no penalty exists,” the motion says, adding that a judge cannot “play the part of a mind reader and guess as to the appropriate law that should be applied at trial.”
Twentieth Judicial District Judge William G. Carmichael ruled last year that Reese is competent to stand trial, but the ruling does not address his mental condition at the time of the slaying.
Reese was booked in the West Feliciana Parish Jail as a juvenile, but his case was transferred to adult court shortly after he was arrested.
Carmichael is holding prosecution and defense attorneys to an informal order not to publicly discuss the case.
West Feliciana Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested Reese after he approached members of a construction crew in The Bluffs and told them to call 911 because he had stabbed someone, Sheriff J. Austin Daniel said after the slaying.
Reese was a student at Baton Rouge Magnet High School when the attack occurred.
The victim was part of a group including his mother, brothers and family friends — all riding bicycles — when he was attacked on June 10, 2010.