MUNCIE, Ind. — Prosecutors want a 17-year-old Delaware County youth charged as an adult in connection with drug overdoses that killed two other local teens.
The youth appeared Wednesday at a hearing in Delaware County's juvenile court at the Youth Opportunity Center.
In addition to the two drug-related deaths, Deputy Prosecutor Diane Frye referred to several other incidents — in Delaware, Blackford, Henry, Jay and Madison counties — in the past two years that could have resulted in criminal charges against the teen had he been an adult.
In the Blackford County case, the teen is accused of conspiring with his father to try to smuggle meth to his older brother, at the time being held on auto theft and fraud charges in that county's jail.
At Wednesday's hearing, Frye presented the testimony of five police officers who alleged the teen had been a participant in local drug transactions that eventually led to the two overdose deaths — of an 18-year-old Muncie man in July and a 17-year-old Delaware County high school student in September.
The 24-year-old Muncie man who allegedly sold the teen the pressed fentanyl tablets that led to the deaths, Ricky Lamiez Taylor, was charged last week with aiding, inducing or causing dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death, a Level 1 felony carrying up to 40 years in prison.
That charge specifically stems from the September death.
One of the officers testifying Wednesday also said the teen had purchased a computer from a Ball State University student — with counterfeit money — and then sold it to Taylor in exchange for cash and fentanyl pills.
Frye told Amanda Yonally, a juvenile court magistrate, that the teen was "beyond rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system."
The deputy prosecutor said that "just to make a little money, (the teen) sells (pills) and kills people."
"I don't think the court can keep him here," she said. "He's going to be 18 in May."
Family members of both overdose victims also asked Yonally to waive the teen into adult court.
The teen's attorney, Ana Quirk — who sat at the defense table with her client and his grandparents — urged Yonally to allow the teen to remain in juvenile jurisdiction, where any punishment for his alleged crimes would not continue beyond his 21st birthday.
Quirk said no efforts had yet been made to help her client address any drug-related issues he might have.
She also said it was "speculative" to suggest the fentanyl pills he is accused of dealing were the same pills that led to the overdose deaths.
"I think it's in his best interest to remain in juvenile court," she said.
Yonally took the case under advisement, and said she would issue a ruling within a few days.
Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Muncie Star Press: Prosecutors want Delaware County teen charged as adult in OD deaths