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15-year-old charged with death of DeAsia Green might be tried as an adult, prosecutor says

The Lucas County Juvenile Prosecutor's Office filed for the change Wednesday, citing the severity of the case.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Lucas County Juvenile Prosecutor's Office wants the 15-year-old suspect charged with the death of DeAsia Green to be tried as an adult, a desire shared by Green's stepfather.

Deputy Prosecutor Patricia Wardrop told WTOL 11 on Wednesday that they have to submit the case for review before a 15-year-old can even be considered for adult charges.

But with the severity of the case, Wardrop said she truly believes rehabilitation isn't in the cards. And she worries it's part of a larger trend in Lucas County.

"What I saw here, it's really been shocking," Wardrop said. "Every kid seems to have a gun, every crime is so much more serious than it used to be and it's like every case we see involves some sort of weaponry at this point."

She said the mission of Lucas County's Juvenile Detention Center is to rehabilitate a youth by their 21st birthday, not immediately lock them up. But as they see more and more extreme cases like the shooting death of Green, further steps might be necessary.

"When you're talking someone willing to pull a gun and shoot somebody, you have to save what is the amenability here- what is the ability to rehabilitate somebody. And if our feeling is there's no way in that short time we will have, it has to go across the street," said Wardrop.

It's not as easy as just changing the suspect's sentence. Wardrop said there is a lengthy process to get the approval, especially when they're as young as a 15-year-old.

"Phase one, we prove probable cause," Wardrop said. If probable cause is proven, "it goes to a second phase, where they're seen by various mental health professionals to see if they're still amenable to juvenile justice."

Wardrop said if the charges are reduced even when a suspect is tried as an adult, the case is then thrown back to the juvenile system. So, she also has to determine which cases have enough evidence to stay in the court of common pleas.

While she understands that kids often get pulled into these situations, it's still their choice to pull the trigger, Wardrop said.

"Kids always tell me that they need a gun for protection," she said. "I tell them, no one -- thank God -- ever gets shot doing their homework at the kitchen table."

Wardrop said one of the biggest issues teens going through the court system struggle with is self-worth. They don’t value their own lives, so they don’t care when they throw them away by committing acts of violence.

Wardrop also addressed concerns expressed by Green's stepfather, Andre Autman, who said Tuesday that he wishes the juvenile justice system had been harder on DeAsia, who had her own history of making appearances at juvenile court after running away from home multiple times.

"I wish she would have been in jail than this happening to her," Autman said. "We tried to prevent that."

Wardrop said the trouble DeAsia was getting into wasn't serious enough for them to put her behind bars. The juvenile prosecutor's office said in most cases, kids are better off being at home than in a cell.

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