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Decision to try 12-year-old as adult in murder case requires evaluation

teruko-shaw-1
Teruko Shaw

By John Thompson

Johnson City Press
[email protected]

MOUNTAIN CITY — Tony Clark’s First Judicial District covers four counties.
But a Johnson County case is new territory for the experienced district attorney general.
Clark said on Wednesday afternoon that he has not reached a decision on whether he will seek to try a 12-year-old boy as an adult in the 2015 death of 84-year-old Teruko Shaw of Butler.
The boy is charged with felony murder, especially aggravated burglary and theft of property.
“I have never seen a case like this because of how young the boy is, and the seriousness of the charge,” Clark said. The defendant is now 12, but when Shaw was killed on Dec. 6, 2015, the boy was only 11.
Clark will play a key role in the decision on whether or not to try the boy as an adult.
Under Tennessee law, Clark will be the starting point in the decision. He must file a motion with Johnson County Sessions Court Judge William Bliss Hawkins, who has juvenile court jurisdiction in Johnson County, to transfer the case.
The motion would cause the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to begin an evaluation to determine if the boy meets several conditions required by state law on transfers.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.