An Alexandria grand jury indicted two 16-year-old Fairfax County youths on charges of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Schuyler Jones. The 17-year-old Alexandria youth who allegedly planned the beating will be tried in juvenile court.
"This was a very difficult decision,” said Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Randolph Sengel, about his decision not to take his case against the 17-year-old to the grand jury. “In light of what happened in juvenile court on Nov. 4, and Judge Rideout’s opinion, we decided to try this defendant in juvenile court.”
Both of the Fairfax County teens, Patrick Casey and Brian Adem, struck Schuyler with their fists, which led to his death in Old Town on Sept. 13, according to officials. The fight, court testimony said, was the result of a long-standing feud between Schuyler and the 17-year-old defendant. Witnesses testified to having knowledge about the feud and to being asked by the 17-year-old to “get my back” if there was a fight at Market Square the night Schuyler was murdered. Attorneys for Casey and Adem acknowledged that the young men had hit Schuyler but denied that there was previous discussion about a fight or about any feud.
In his decision, Judge Stephen Rideout found that the 17-year-old was not an “aider or abettor” so he could not be charged with second-degree murder as an adult. Rideout did not dismiss the case against the 17-year-old, however, because of evidence that the Commonwealth’s Attorney might present at the time of a trial.
THE ATTORNEYS will select a trial date for Casey and Adem on Dec. 11, and for the 17-year-old, later this week. “Our circuit court judges like us to set trials within 60 days of the time of the indictment,” Sengel said. “However, I would expect the defense attorneys in this case to want a bit more time. My guess is that the trial will be some time in February.”
The juvenile case is more complicated because a visiting judge needs to be found. Neither of the Alexandria juvenile court judges will handle the trial. Rideout, because he ruled in the probable cause hearing and Judge Nolan Dawkins because he is familiar with many of the families and attorneys who are involved in the case.