16-year-old charged in fatal shooting
A 16-year-old Baker boy accused of fatally shooting a man in August will be tried as an adult because the slaying is an adult crime that warrants an adult penalty, East Baton Rouge Parish’s chief prosecutor said Friday.
A day earlier, a parish grand jury indicted J.B. Moore III on second-degree murder in the Aug. 28 shooting death of Kino Tyricklamon Harris, 18, outside an apartment complex near Sparta Avenue off La. 19.
“The allegations against J.B. Moore are as serious as it gets. Although he is a juvenile, he is alleged to have committed an adult crime and if found guilty should face an adult sentence,” said District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who is no relation to the boy.
“I feel that under the circumstances of this case, prosecuting this juvenile as an adult is in the interest of public safety,” he added.
J.B. Moore, who was booked Aug. 28 into the East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Detention Center, will be transferred to Parish Prison.
A second-degree murder conviction in Louisiana carries an automatic sentence of life in prison, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states can no longer automatically sentence juveniles convicted in murder cases to life in prison without parole. The high court said the sentencing judge must hold a hearing to consider the defendant’s youth, upbringing, circumstances of the crime and other factors.
In direct response to that ruling, the Louisiana Legislature approved a measure during this year’s regular session requiring a sentencing judge to hold a hearing to determine whether the sentence should be imposed with or without parole eligibility.
If a sentence is imposed with eligibility for parole, the law — which took effect Aug. 1 — gives incarcerated offenders a shot at freedom after serving 35 years for first- or second-degree murder.
Baton Rouge police have said the Aug. 28 shooting stemmed from an argument earlier in the day in which Harris and J.B. Moore exchanged words, although they were not physically fighting each other.
The boy’s case has been assigned to state District Judge Bonnie Jackson.