‘Very disappointed’: Court denies motion to charge suspect in Lucia Bremer’s murder as adult
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico County Juvenile Court Judge denies the motion to charge the teenage suspect in Lucia Bremer’s murder as an adult.
Bremer was killed on March 26 while walking in the Gayton Forest West neighborhood with a friend. The suspect, a 14-year-old at the time, was charged with her murder and attempted murder of the other girl.
Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor filed an appeal Monday afternoon, requesting a Circuit Court judge to review the Juvenile Court’s ruling. By law, an appeal hearing must be scheduled within 45 days.
“They review to make sure that the findings of the Juvenile Court were appropriate,” Taylor said.
While an appeal hearing has not yet been set, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office will now focus on providing the evidence to support why this decision should be overturned.
On Monday morning, the Juvenile Court judge heard from attorneys for roughly four hours before deciding to keep the case where it is.
“Both families are very, very disappointed,” Taylor said. “Obviously Lucia’s mother and father are very disappointed, and… you all are familiar with the other little girl who was with Lucia... her mom and dad have been made aware of the decision.”
Friday will mark eight months since Henrico police were called to the 1900 block of Hickoryridge Road for the report of a shooting. There they found a 13-year-old girl, later identified as Lucia Bremer, shot outside a home. She was taken to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.
Over the course of the investigation, authorities said Bremer was walking with a friend in the west end neighborhood when a 14-year-old boy opened fire on them. Police arrested the boy nearly 24 hours later in a neighborhood off Pump Road.
“The Commonwealth, we of course believe the seriousness of the facts of this case is a significant factor,” Taylor said.
However, the seriousness of the offense and age of the suspect are not the only factors the Juvenile Court reviews when making this kind of decision.
“Such as any prior criminal record, his school and his educational record, the extent of any intellectual ability or mental illness -- all factors that present this person as a whole person,” said NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin.
Benjamin says while he’s not entirely familiar with the specifics of the case, he is not surprised a Juvenile Court would move to keep the case within the juvenile system.
“The entire basis for the juvenile court system is to, whenever possible, treat and rehabilitate that person because juveniles are not just young adults, they are kids,” he explained. “They don’t yet have the mental and emotional, physical abilities to think and reason like adults; they’re very, very different.”
While the specifics of what unfolded in the juvenile court will remain confidential at this point, Benjamin said it’s important to understand the public does not know the ins and outs of the case.
“Only someone with a complete knowledge of all the details of this case could ever offer an opinion as to the appropriateness of the ruling,” he said.
Since the incident, the suspect has turned 15-years-old. He faces charges of second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a juvenile and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. In August, more charges were filed concerning the second victim; attempted murder and brandishing a firearm.
The boy has been held at the county’s Juvenile Detention Center since his arrest.
The court’s ruling comes a day after dozens of people gathered at Bremer’s family’s farm to harvest vegetables to give to those in need in the community.
“We’re thankful for the over 300 lbs (or 2200 portions!) of kale, collards, mustard, and turnip greens that we’ll be donating in Lucia’s memory,” the farm’s social media post read.
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