Judge denies release of teen girl in hit-and-run murder case

A King County judge denied a motion by the defense to release from custody a 16-year-old SeaTac girl charged with second-degree murder, second-degree assault and felony hit and run.

The defense made the motion at a court hearing on Monday, Nov. 15, according to an email from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors opposed that motion, and the judge agreed. The girl remains in juvenile detention in Seattle.

The defense wanted the girl placed on electronic home monitoring to the custody of a woman who is unrelated to the girl and not a guardian, according to court documents. The woman is the mother of a girlfriend of the SeaTac girl.

Prosecutors argued that the girl should remain in custody as a likely failure to appear for further court proceedings, to protect her from herself and as a threat to community safety, according to court documents.

The girl allegedly hit and killed Gregory Moore, 53, of Maple Valley while he jogged July 18 near his home. She fled the scene and the case remained unsolved until September when King County Sheriff’s Office detectives used headlight fragments found near the scene, along with video surveillance and other evidence, to identify a 2004 Toyota Camry that reportedly hit Moore.

After releasing to the media a photo of the type of car used in the hit and run, the Sheriff’s Office received numerous tips that led to the eventual arrest of the girl, who was 15 at the time of the incident.

During the investigation into Moore’s death, detectives also found evidence that led to further charges against the girl in a July hit and run in Des Moines that reportedly injured a pedestrian who has not yet been identified. She faces second-degree assault and felony hit and run in that case.

The case is scheduled to return to court Dec. 15 for another hearing. A trial date is expected to be set after that hearing, according to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Moore’s widow and family want the girl to be tried as an adult, but King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg has stayed with the decision to try her in juvenile court. The Kent Reporter is not naming the girl because she is a juvenile.

If found guilty as charged, she faces a sentence in juvenile court of up to five years as state law requires her to be released at age 21. If tried as an adult, the potential sentence would be much stiffer.

“Even with the additional charges filed (Oct. 19), the key facts involved in this case – and the related laws which govern juvenile vs. adult jurisdiction – remain the same: This juvenile was 15 years old at the time of the offenses for which she was charged,” according to a Prosecuting Attorney’s Office statement after the additional charges were filed. “She has no prior arrests or criminal history. The laws of our state presume that a child this age must be prosecuted in juvenile court.”

Youth who are 16 at the time of a crime can legally be charged as an adult if they are charged with a felony.

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Article Source: Kent Reporter