A 10-year-old boy appeared in juvenile court Thursday and pleaded “not true” to charges he stabbed and killed his best friend.
The child wore an orange jump suit and fidgeted at the defense table when he faced a judge on charges of murder and felony assault charges for the death of 12-year-old Ryan Carter.
Carter was stabbed Monday afternoon at the suspect’s home on Royal Road. The victim’s family and friends said they have been told Carter was breaking up a fight when the stabbing occurred.
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.
Inside court, the suspect sat with public defender Marion Gaston and looked confused at times. He played with his fingers and hands and at one point put his head on the table.
The suspect pleaded “not true” to the charges. The court decided it was best at the current time for the boy to remain in juvenile hall.
The child’s mother, who attended the hearing with two supporters, appeared to be close to tears during the hearing but didn’t speak.
When the judge asked the boy if he agreed to the date of a readiness conference, the boy looked to his attorney and to his mother before being prompted by the publc defender to agree.
He then whispered a soft “Yes.”
Outside court Deputy District Attorney, Juvenile Division Victor Barr described the hearing but refused to reveal specific details in the case.
“This is a tragic, tragic case for everyone involved,” he said. “Tragic for the victim and the victim’s family and tragic for the minor and the minor’s family and it won’t be an easy situation for anyone involved,” Barr said.
In the juvenile system, there is no bail. Barr said in juvenile hall the suspect will be heavily monitored but will be in a safe environment and will get schooling.
At the hearing there was a request for a psychological evaluation which is not unusual Barr said. The public defender requested their own psychologist do the evaluation he said.
Barr said the juvenile system focuses more on rehabilitation than punishment.
Without getting into specifics he said the maximum sentence with all the charges would be cusotdy until the suspect reaches age 25. After that, the juvenile system will lose all jurisdiction Barr said.
On Wednesday, Ryan Carter's father said he and his wife are leaning on their faith to cope with the loss of their only child.
“There’s a giant hole where my heart’s supposed to be,” Glen Carter told NBCSanDiego.
"At some point we will talk to his mother,” he said referring to the suspect's mother who was home at the time of the stabbing.
Homicide investigators recovered the knife used in the killing but refused to release details on what type of knife it was or where it was located before the stabbing.
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