Accused Teen Robbers not to be Tried as Adults Judge Says

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(Memphis) - Three teens accused of robbing a man at gunpoint won't be charged as adults according to a judge.

The boys are now 14, 15, and 16. The one accused of pulling the gun was just 13 when police say he robbed a man in Orange Mound in November. 

There was an unusual witness who stepped up Wednesday on behalf of the suspects; the victim.

“I think it’s a win for the entire community,” said Errol Harmon, the attorney to the 16-year-old suspect.

He says the Orange Mound community will be better off once his client and two other juveniles come out of the Juvenile Court system, instead of serving hard time in jail. Wednesday, a judge denied a transfer request from the district attorney's office to move their case to adult court.

“If he has not been rehabilitated when he comes back he is not going to be able to help out the community and that’s what the community spoke out on and even the victim testified on that he wants to see this man remain in the juvenile court system,” said Harmon.

Police say the 14, 15, and 16-year-old teens robbed a man at gunpoint in November.

In all cases, the Shelby County district attorney's office goes after the stiffest penalty. That's why in this case, the DA wanted the teens tried in adult court. A move some people agree with.   

“If they're brave enough to do, then they need to pay for the crime they committed and they need to be put in jail,” said Charles Hunt, Jr. who lives in the community where the man was robbed. “If they're going to act like an adult, they needed to be treated like an adult.”

However, Harmon argues it’s important to remember these teenagers made a delinquent choice and they're not yet criminals.

“If they're able to finish in the juvenile justice system, they can pick up a trade or go on and finish school and when they come out they'll be a more productive citizen than when they went into that rehabilitative facility.”

The district attorney’s office said that the boys will be tried in the juvenile court system. If convicted, they could be kept there until they're 19 years old.