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Marion teen will be charged as adult in fatal shooting of Michael McCune
Judge says 16-year-old not a ‘good candidate’ for rehab in juvenile court
CEDAR RAPIDS — A judge ruled Thursday that a Marion teen, initially charged in juvenile court, will be waived to adult court to face charges in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Michael Alexander McCune on Feb. 18.
Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Nicholas Scott said Baynon Berry, known a “BJ,” who was 15 when the fatal attack happened, isn’t a “good candidate” for rehabilitation through juvenile court. Berry had been adjudicated in juvenile court on a previous charge of possession of a dangerous weapon and was on probation when he and three other teens are accused of killing McCune, Scott noted.
During the hearing, Scott said that going through adult court will give Berry an opportunity to have jury trial, which he wouldn’t have in juvenile court.
Scott’s decision also was based on the “gravity” of the allegations.
He revoked Berry’s previous consent decree on the gun possession and his probation because the teen absconded for a month, while still on probation, after McCune’s fatal shooting.
During the hearing, Sam Moen, a juvenile court officer, recommended Berry be waived to adult court. Berry is accused of conspiring with TraMontez Lockett, 16, and Dante Irvin, 15, also charged, in a “targeted” attack on McCune over past conflicts.
Moen said he didn’t recommend Berry stay in juvenile court because of the limited time for rehabilitation before he turns 18 and would be released.
Other details of the fatal attack were revealed during cross-examination by John Bishop, Berry’s lawyer, of Moen.
Moen said there was information that McCune and Berry were in gangs but that information came from another other juveniles and police. Berry didn’t admit to that.
The other teen involved, who drove a stolen vehicle the night Berry and Lockett traveled in to meet McCune, said Berry made callous remarks about McCune after the shooting. He said Berry also said Irvin killed McCune because he had a “beef” with McCune.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Shannon Powers said she agreed with Moen’s assessment that there’s no reasonable prospect for rehabilitation in juvenile court. She recommended revoking Berry’s previous consent decree and probation.
Bishop argued that Berry’s role in the shooting was “limited.” Irvin shot him and Lockett set up McCune by making arrangements for McCune to meet the them at Tan Tara Apartments that morning.
Bishop asked the judge to keep Berry in juvenile court.
Scott, in his ruling, said he doesn’t have any evidence of gang activity or affiliation in this case and didn’t consider it. That likely couldn’t be determined in juvenile court but could be during a district court trial.
Irvin also was charged in juvenile court and has a waiver hearing next month.
Scott set Berry’s initial appearance in district court for June 1, where he will be formally charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and going armed with intent.
Lockett was charged in March with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, first-degree theft and going armed with intent. He remains in the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center pending trial.
According to a criminal complaint, police found McCune with eight gunshot wounds around 11:30 a.m. Feb. 18 inside the entryway of an apartment at the Tan Tara Apartments.
Lockett and one of those individuals were seen on video surveillance at the Kum & Go, 2604 16th Ave. SW, and identified as the two who stole a 2019 Toyota RAV4 from that location the day of the fatal shooting, according to the complaint.
Lockett and that individual met two others and all four went to the Tan Tara Apartments in the stolen SUV, the complaint stated.
McCune’s phone showed Lockett had been messaging him through Snapchat and had arranged to pick up McCune at the apartments, according to a search warrant affidavit and complaint.
When the three saw McCune, the two individuals with Lockett started shooting at McCune. One of the individuals ran into the apartment building, continuing to shoot at McCune at close range.
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