A 14-year-old Toledo boy accused of taking a loaded gun to school and then giving it to another student who ditched it was taken away from his first court date Friday wearing handcuffs and a smile.
Both the boy, an eighth grader at Toledo Public Schools' Keyser Elementary on Hill Avenue in South Toledo, and the second student are charged with illegal conveyance of a weapon in a school, a class five felony, and with tampering with evidence, a class three felony.
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They face a variety of penalties that include probation, six months in juvenile detention for each offense, or incarceration until their 21st birthdays.
The boy accused of taking the gun to school lives with his grandmother, who explained to those at Lucas County Juvenile Court why he is a troubled youth. Among factors she cited was the death of his mother on March 15.
The grandmother said she works from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and he goes out instead of staying home for school work or chores.
"[He] has been going through not listening for awhile. I have been telling him. Have I not told you?" she said directly to her grandson beside her. "Between 2 and 10, he is out doing what he wants to do instead of what he is supposed to do. … I told him he was going to wind up here, and here he is."
Neither she nor the boy's grandfather asked the court to release him into their custody.
Patricia Wardrop, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, acknowledged that neither boy has a criminal record but asked the court during separate probable cause hearings for each to be held until a trial date because of the seriousness of the charges.
Ms. Wardrop said it was still unclear how the first boy obtained the weapon.
Court Magistrate William Hutcheson agreed with the prosecution in both cases and remanded the boys, both 14 and both eighth graders, until a May 3 court date.
"The positive thing for you is that you don't have a record and it appears that you have family support," he said to the boy accused of taking the gun to school.
"But the negative is that these are very serious charges. For juvenile court, it doesn't get more serious than these types of charges. … The other thing that concerns the court is that you haven't been the perfect grandson."
The youth had nothing to say to Magistrate Hutcheson, but he did answer several questions. He told the court that he gets Ds and Fs in school and wants to "play sports" after graduating from high school.
The two boys were arrested Thursday. The boy who authorities said took the .40-caliber handgun told school personnel he needed it to protect himself from youths in the neighborhood who had been harassing him.
The student made no threats with the weapon, officials said, but told other students about it. A student relayed to a teacher that the classmate had the gun about 1 p.m., Assistant Superintendent Brian Murphy said, and that led to a search of a classroom. The student gave the gun to the second boy, who threw it into a rest room trash can, police said.
The mother of the second boy asked Magistrate Hutcheson over her own sobs not to incarcerate her son. "For the most part, he is a good child, who has been making some wrong choices, and he definitely knows this is a wrong choice. … If he is released, he will be with me or his dad," she said. She also said he is "not out in the streets after hours."
The boy told the magistrate that he had all failing grades earlier this school year but now is getting passing grades. He also said he wants to attend college and learn to build houses.
The school district plans to schedule expulsion proceedings for the student who allegedly took the gun to school and disciplinary hearings against the boy who allegedly threw the weapon away in an attempt to conceal it.
Contact Ignazio Messina at: email@example.com or 419-724-6171.
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