Hearing Postponed for 10-Year-Old Murder Suspect

A 10-year-old East County boy faces murder and felony assault charges in the stabbing death of his 12-year-old friend

By Paul Krueger, R. Stickney and Lauren Steussy
|  Monday, Apr 16, 2012  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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Boy Stabbed Trying to Stop Fight

NBCSanDiego

Images from the scene of a stabbing in Lakeside Monday, Jan. 16.

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Lakeside Boy Charged with Murder

For the first time since the stabbing death of 12-year old Ryan Carter reporters were able to see the boy accused - Carter's 10-year old friend. In the courtroom, where cameras are not allowed, the child played with his fingers and at one point put his head on the table. Kelly McPherson reports.
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A boy in custody on charges he stabbed and killed his best friend appeared before a judge for a second status hearing Monday.

The child is accused of murder and felony assault for the death of 12-year-old Ryan Carter of Lakeside. Carter was stabbed  at the suspect’s home on Royal Road on Jan. 16 while both children were off on a school holiday.

The victim’s family and friends said they have been told Carter was breaking up a fight when the stabbing occurred.

The status hearing was postponed again until the end of May. The defense say they need more time to go through documents and information involved in the case. This is the second time the status hearing has been postponed -- defense lawyers said on Feb. 23 they needed more time.

On the Feb. 23 appearance, the judge greeted the defendant with a sincere "Good Morning" and the 10-year-old murder suspect responded with a single word: a quiet and respectful "Hi."

Thursday's status hearing lasted just a few minutes.

After the hearing on Feb. 23, Deputy District Attorney Victor Barr did answer a few general, procedural questions about the case.

Barr said that in a case like this, the judge has already started reviewing medical and psychological reports prepared by court-appointed experts.

Barr said the defense now has almost two months to decide if it wants to move ahead with a trial, or to instead ask the judge to declare the child incompetent.

That request can be made for any of three reasons: mental health issues, developmental disability or "immaturity," which means the boy is too young and immature to understand what he allegedly did and what is happening to him now in court.

If the defense makes a motion to continue based on incompetency, and the Judge agrees, the boy could face a trial later, when the court deems him competent.

Cameras are not permitted to record hearings in juvenile court and it is NBCSanDiego’s policy not to name minors accused of a crime unless they are charged as adults.

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