Two 16-year-old Fairfax County youths will be tried as adults for second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old T. C. Williams junior, Schuyler Jones. However, a 17-year-old Alexandria youth’s case will remain in juvenile court.
Chief Juvenile and Domestic Relations court judge, Stephen W. Rideout, ruled this week that there was probable cause to certify the cases of Patrick Casey and Brian Adem for trial in Alexandria Circuit Court on charges of second-degree murder.
“Applying the law to the facts at hand as to [these defendants] the court finds that the Commonwealth has established Probable Cause that they inflicted the blows that caused the death of Schuyler Jones and that they acted with malice,” Rideout wrote in a 14-page opinion that was released immediately after the hearing in juvenile court on Tuesday.
“Based on the evidence presented, the court finds that there is probable cause to believe that [these defendants] were acting in concert…The court, having found probable cause as to these defendants must examine the behavior of [the other defendant] in the context of the entire series of events to determine his level of culpability…The only act that can be reasonably attributed to [the 17-year-old defendant] once he arrived at Market Square was pointing out Schuyler Jones to one of the other defendants…The fact that the 17-year-old defendant was present and pointed Schuyler Jones out to one of the other defendants is not enough. To be an aider and abettor, he would have had to know that one defendant was going to strike the blow and somehow be in agreement with it. As such, the court finds that no probable cause has been established for the purposes of certifying the 17-year-old defendant’s case to the Circuit Court.
“Finding no probable cause, however, does not mean that the charge is dismissed against him. The court sets this matter over to Dec. 3, 2003, for the setting of a trial date on the charge currently placed against the 17-year-old defendant,” Rideout wrote.
ALEXANDRIA Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Randolph Sengel said he was disappointed by the judge’s decision and that "the investigation is continuing and we will decide what we are going to do by Dec. 1, when the grand jury meets,” he said.
Sengel had argued in court that “what occurred on Sept. 13, occurred at the manipulation, instigation and initiation of the 17-year-old defendant. This was not a fight,” Sengel said. “This was a beating that was motivated by revenge.”
Witnesses had previously testified that the 17-year-old had a long-standing feud with Schuyler that had resulted in a previous fight that was initiated by the 17-year-old. Witnesses also testified that the 17-year-old wanted revenge for that fight.
Defense attorneys argued that Casey and Adem did not know the 17-year-old prior to the incident at Market Square that led to Schuyler’s death.
“Mr. Casey isn’t blaming anyone else for what happened,” said Chris Leibig, Casey’s attorney. “On the contrary, he accepts responsibility for his part in what happened and feels great remorse. However, there was no malice here.”
RIDEOUT FOUND that Casey struck the first blow and two subsequent blows, the last after Schuyler had fallen to the ground. He further found that Adem struck the blow to the back of the head that killed Schuyler. The decision to try these cases in Circuit Court lies with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.
The next step in the process is for Sengel to take the cases against Casey and Adem to the Grand Jury. He also may choose to take the case against the 17-year-old defendant to the Grand Jury at the same time. If the Grand Jury finds probable cause, they will issue an indictment and those who are indicted will be tried in Circuit Court. If Sengel does not present the case against the 17-year-old to the Grand Jury, that case will be heard in juvenile court.