WHITE PINE (WATE) – Hearts are breaking in a small community in the wake of the murder of an eight-year-old girl.
McKayla Dyer was shot and killed Saturday at her home in White Pine. An 11-year-old boy that was arrested and charged with first degree murder in her death had his first appearance Monday before Juvenile Judge Dennis “Will” Roach at the Jefferson County Justice Center.
District Attorney General James Dunn said the boy was detained after the hearing. Dunn said Judge Roach set bond at $500,000.
Ed Miller, the 4th Judicial District public defender, said a hearing was scheduled for October 28, however he anticipates the hearing to be delayed.
‘Virtually impossible’ to try 11-year-old as adult
According to Defense Attorney Greg Isaacs there have been no cases where an 11-year-old was was ever tried as an adult in a homicide case in the State of Tennessee.
“Terrible tragedy, but it would be virtually impossible to transfer and try this young man as an adult,” said Isaacs. “Under 16 years of age there are certain criteria: seriousness of offense, rehabilitation methods used in the past, the delinquency record, but in this case it would be rare.”
Isaacs said if they tried an 11-year-old as an adult there would be an army of psychiatrists and psychologists arguing that a child that young cannot form the required mental intent for first and second degree homicide. He said it is much more likely that he will be detained until he is 19-year-old, the longest a juvenile court can detain a minor.
“It’s not going to be the lawyers, it’s going to be the mental health experts and they’re going to tell the court and petition the court when they feel he is rehabilitated,” said Isaacs. “What they’re going to do is go inside the mind of an 11-year-old, still riding bikes and watching Cartoon Network and find out why he did what he did.”
The parents of the boy also could be charged in the case, according to Isaacs. He said they could be charged with abuse and neglect if firearms were left loaded near where young people could reach the them.