BR teen to stand trial as adult in slaying

A boy who was only 14 when police accused him of donning a ski mask and fatally shooting a man in a Baton Rouge home invasion will stand trial as an adult after the state’s highest court declined to consider his appeal.

A sharply divided Louisiana Supreme Court denied writs Friday in the case of Derian Bailey, effectively upholding an appellate court finding that there is no “substantial opportunity” for the teen to be rehabilitated in the state’s juvenile justice system.

Bailey, who turns 16 next month, is charged with murder in the November 2012 slaying of 34-year-old Derrick Marioneaux, who died in a hail of gunfire after three people burst through his front door toting a .22-caliber handgun, sawed-off shotgun and semiautomatic assault rifle. Bailey’s older brother and cousin also face murder charges in the shooting, which investigators said was motivated by robbery.

“It’s a small victory, but it’s still a dark situation,” Marioneaux’s widow, Demetria, said of the Supreme Court’s decision. “He committed an adult crime, so he should be faced with adult consequences.”

Jack Harrison, the defense attorney who fought to keep Bailey’s proceedings in Juvenile Court, declined to comment on the development.

Bailey’s case is believed to be just the second time in East Baton Rouge Parish that a juvenile who was 14 at the time of arrest has been transferred to state court to stand trial on murder charges. If convicted as an adult, Bailey, under state law, cannot be imprisoned beyond his 31st birthday because of his age at the time of the shooting.

Bailey and his older brother, Benjamin A. Bailey, 21, and cousin, Juan Herbert, 22, are accused of kicking in Marioneaux’s front door and opening fire as the victim sat at his table eating a meal from McDonald’s. Marioneaux’s wife and daughter, who had been inside packing for a trip to Walt Disney World, managed to flee the Wyandotte Street home unharmed.

Marioneaux, however, was struck several times in the barrage of gunfire, including once in the chest, and an autopsy later determined he died from a loss of blood after being taken to a hospital. Derian Bailey inadvertently shot Herbert during the home invasion, authorities have said, and all three gunmen were arrested after taking Herbert to the hospital.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office completed an internal vetting process to determine whether Derian Bailey should be tried as an adult, including a review of his criminal history and how he responded to prior rehabilitation attempts in the juvenile system. Prosecutors found the youth to be a “high-risk juvenile offender with several violent crimes involving the use of handguns,” Moore said.

The effort to try Derian Bailey as an adult triggered an unusual court proceeding in which Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson considered two days of evidence, including the testimony of a psychologist who found the youth to pose a “high risk of violence” and suffer from a severe conduct disorder. Johnson determined that Bailey had the mind of a 10-year-old and would be better off in juvenile custody with access to a child psychiatrist and specially trained staff.

But the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal reversed that ruling in April, saying prosecutors had met their burden under the law and presented “clear and convincing evidence that there is no substantial opportunity” for Bailey to be rehabilitated as a juvenile. The state Supreme Court declined to hear Bailey’s appeal of that ruling, though three justices said they would have heard the case.