Teen charged with attacking Cache Co. girl to be tried as an adult

Posted at 9:53 AM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 15:10:27-04

LOGAN, Utah — One of the teenage boys charged with attempting to murder a Cache County girl in February was in court Monday morning, where a judge ruled he will stand trial as an adult.

Deserae Turner, 14, was found in a dry ditch in Smithfield with a gunshot wound to her head. She spent nine weeks at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City and was released from the hospital on April 20. Deserae has lost control of the left side of her body and she's now half blind, her mother said, so she'll never be able to drive.

The boy is being charged with shooting Deserae Turner in the back of the head, leaving her to die in a Smithfield canal, but Matthew Davies, a psychologist called by the defense to evaluate the teen, says he's not a threat to public safety.

"He was pleasant. He was again, very cooperative, very appropriate and respectful. I think we developed a pretty good relationship," says Davies.

Davies describes the teen as emotionally immature, depressed, and empathetic. He says the teen is remorseful about what happened to Deserae Turner.

"He became teary. In telling me a little bit about his family history he also became teary," says Davies.

In contrast, the alleged accomplice, who Judge Angela Fonnesbeck determined Monday morning will be tried as an adult, showed no emotion in court. However, his attorney, Shannon Demler, says he's scared and feels badly about what happened to Deserae Turner.

"You have to remember he’s 16 years old. He’s scared. He’s never been to court before. It’s all new to him. He doesn’t know what to do," says Demler.

Cache County Attorney, James Swink, says Deserae Turner's family and the community are relieved and grateful that the judge came to this conclusion.

"We believe the court’s decision today goes a long way to help heal us and provide some sense of justice for not only the family but those who live in our community," says Swink.

"This court is acutely aware of the shocking nature of the crimes," said Judge Angela Fonnesbeck, who added that the boy is not less blame-worthy than the other alleged assailant.

The teen will be arraigned in district court on Thursday and at that point, his name will be released.