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Published: Monday, 3/26/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Fulton County judge closes juvenile proceedings in fatal shooting


WAUSEON — A Fulton County Common Pleas Court judge ruled Monday morning that the trial of a 14-year-old boy charged with the accidental shooting death of a schoolmate in Wauseon earlier this month will be closed to the public.

Judge Michael J. Bumb ruled, after hearing from two witnesses, that there is reason to believe “that public access could harm the child and that the potential for harm outweighs the benefits of public access to the proceeding.”

The judge did rule, however, that the media may cover the court proceedings, but no photography or recording will be allowed, according to the signed judgement entry.

The teenager, Felipe Villanueva, Jr., is charged with the shooting of Michael Schwartz, 13, in a house a 444 Howard Ave. on March 14.

Craig A. Johnston, 35, who lives at the Howard Avenue address, has also been charged in the incident. Authorities charged Mr. Johnston last week with negligent homicide saying he is the gun owner. He is also charged with two drug-related offenses based on a police search of his residence.

If convicted on the negligent homicide charge, Mr. Johnston faces up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. He also is charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both fourth-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to 30 days in jail and $250 fines. His first court appearance in scheduled for Tuesday.

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