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Sunday, 3 July 2011

11-year-old central Indiana boy charged with killing his brother

An 11-year-old central Indiana boy charged with killing his brother is likely the youngest person to face a murder charge in Indiana in about 90 years.

The Indianapolis Star reported Saturday that the last time someone so young was charged with murder in Indiana came in the early 1920s, when an 11-year-old was charged with murder and tried as an adult in northwest Indiana's Starke County. That boy wasn't convicted.

Few details about the shooting Thursday night that killed 6-year-old Andrew Frye at his family's home near Martinsville have been released because a judge on Friday ordered details to remain sealed. Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega said some information might emerge Wednesday when the defendant appears for an initial hearing.

The 11-year-old was being held Saturday at the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center.

"Murder can be knowingly or intentionally," Sonnega said. "There is a slight difference. Knowingly means when you engage in conduct you know there is a high probability of the outcome."

The boy currently is charged as a juvenile with murder and criminal recklessness. However, the case could eventually end up in adult court, as Indiana law allows anyone over age 10 to be tried as an adult. For that to happen, prosecutors would have to convince the county's juvenile court judge that there was strong evidence against him, that he likely cannot be rehabilitated in the juvenile system, and that waiving him to adult court is in the best interest of the safety and welfare of the community.

Sonnega said a decision on whether to seek to have the boy waived into adult court would be made later.

The 11-year-old called 911 to report the shooting about 6:15 p.m. Thursday. Officers arrived and found the 6-year-old on a bed in a bedroom with a .22 caliber gunshot wound to the head. The boy was taken to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, where he died at 8:03 p.m. Thursday, police said. Judge Christopher Burnham's order after a probable cause hearing Friday barred Sonnega from disclosing details of the case.

The boys were cared for by their mother and her boyfriend, but a sheriff's officer said no adults were home when the shooting occurred.

Prosecutors and police were investigating possible neglect charges against the adults, Sonnega said.

Martinsville is about 30 miles south of Indianapolis.



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