As Columbia criminal defense attorneys, we help many teens who have been charged with crimes. Typically teens can get into trouble with drugs, drinking alcohol and theft crimes.
However, on occasions teens are charged with more serious offenses. Recently The State noted how a sentencing hearing has been set on Dec. 12 for convicted teen killer Trenton Barnes.
The hearing for Barnes, 17, who was convicted in the 2013 shooting death of Kelly Hunnewell, a mother of four children of school age, was delayed at the request of his attorney. Barnes was charged as a juvenile after the shooting which took place when he was 16.
The State reported the hearing before Judge Robert Hood was supposed to be held on Nov 25 at the Richland County courthouse.
Earlier this month, a jury deliberated for two hours before finding Barnes and co-defendant Lorenzo Young, 20, guilty of murder, kidnapping, attempted armed robbery and second degree burglary.
The evidence included a vivid surveillance tape that showed footage of two young men wearing hoodies entering a Columbia bakery in the early morning hours of July 1, 2013. One of them killed Hunnewell by shooting her in the throat.
The judge sentenced Young to life in prison without parole. Trial evidence suggested he had boasted to friends that he would not be found guilty.
At the time of the killing, Barnes was 16. He turns 18 at the end of this month. There are different rules for juvenile defendants. A recent S.C. Supreme Court decision ruled that offenders under age 18 who are found guilty of serious crimes, making them eligible for lengthy prison sentences including life, must have a separate sentencing hearing.
"At such a hearing, a judge gets information from defendants' family members, medical and mental health histories along with other aspects of their lives to determine whether their ages entitle them to lesser sentences," reported The State.
Hunnewell's shooting death shocked the community of Columbia after it was revealed that two of the three arrested in her killing had been released from jail on bond while awaiting trial on other violent crimes. More than 50 people showed up for a rally in the wake of the death.
The Masella Law Firm has taken on numerous cases involving teen defendants in Columbia and elsewhere in South Carolina. It's important to hire a team with a wealth of legal experience. Call us at 803.938.4952.