Defense calls for closed-door hearings for 14-year-old accused of shooting another teen

Posted at 2:13 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 19:02:02-05

WEST JORDAN, Utah - The defense team for a 14-year-old boy accused of shooting another teen in the head wants court hearings closed to the media.

The incident happened on Oct. 25 outside of Union Middle School in Sandy.

Police said the 14-year-old suspect met up with a 16-year-old outside for what was allegedly going to be a prearranged fight.

Prosecutors said the suspect brought a gun from home, kept it with him throughout the day, and used it on the victim seconds before the fight was to start.

The victim was critically injured with two gunshot wounds to the head. The suspect has been in custody ever since.

The suspect's defense wants to ban journalists from attending hearings in this case.

But an attorney representing local media claims the Utah Legislature has already ruled hearings like this, involving someone of this age, should be open for media coverage.

"The countervailing interests here are the newsworthiness of this case, involving a significant attempted murder charge by a young person who meets the statutory criteria to have these kinds of proceedings be open. And then the benefit to the public of understanding these proceedings. And, in my view, those weigh far more heavily than any interests in denying electronic media coverage," attorney Austin Riter said, Utah Media Coalition.

All parties involved in the case are scheduled to meet Nov. 17 to discuss the motions and determine whether or not the case will remain open to the media.

The 14-year-old suspect is scheduled for an initial appearance Dec. 1.