Public Safety

Prosecutor asks court to transfer 14-year-old Ely boy accused of armed robbery to adult court

He could be tried as youthful offender and be sent to training school for rehabilitation

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A prosecutor is asking a judge to transfer a 14-year-old Ely boy, who was charged this week with armed robbery, to adult court and prosecute him as a youthful offender.

The 14-year-old is charged in Linn County Juvenile Court with first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, both felonies, and carrying weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor, according to juvenile petition filed Wednesday.

The teen is accused of pointing a loaded handgun at a cashier Wednesday at the Point Liquor and Tobacco Store, 3221 Center Point Rd. NE, while demanding she give him the money from the register

The petition, known as a criminal complaint in adult court, also shows the teen intended to commit the robbery with another person and while armed with a loaded Springfield XD 9 mm handgun.

Dekheary V. Steele, 28, of Chicago, Ill., also was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and carrying weapons. He is accused of planning and committing the robbery with the teen, according to a criminal complaint.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Kelly Kaufman, in her motion, is asking the court to transfer the 14-year-old’s case to adult court based on the “high degree of violence” in the robbery and because it was committed against a person, a weapon was used and the offense was “willful and premeditated.”

Kaufman’s motion stated the teen is a “mature” individual who lives independently and isn’t under the supervision of his parents or any adult.

The boy has had earlier convictions in juvenile court and has received the maximum rehabilitation available, according to the motion.

Given the nature and circumstances of the Wednesday robbery and that the programs, the facilities and personnel available for rehabilitation and treatment in juvenile court are “inadequate to best serve the needs” of the teen and the community, Kaufman stated in the motion,

If the teen is tried and convicted as a youthful offender, he would likely be sent to State Training School in Eldora, or some other juvenile facility in the state until he is 18. At that time, he would return to adult district court and a judge would resentence him to probation, prison time or discharge him for time served. The judge’s decision would be based on how well the teen progresses with rehabilitation and treatment.

Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Angie Johnson set an Oct. 8 hearing in juvenile court to consider the transfer.

After the robbery, investigators reviewed surveillance footage from the area and identified one person, later identified as the teen, getting into a vehicle on the passenger side. They also got a description of the driver, later identified as Steele, and a partial description of the license plate from the surveillance video.

Investigators located the vehicle in an apartment parking lot in the 1600 block of Park Towne Court NE. They then set up surveillance and later took Steele into custody during a traffic stop.

The complaint shows Steele admitted to planning and committing the robbery with the teen. He also said he acted as the getaway driver.

Police said they found the 14-year-old still inside an apartment in the 1600 block of Park Towne Court NE. He was taken into custody and admitted his part in the robbery, police said.

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If convicted, Steele faces up to 37 years in prison. The teen remains in the Linn County Detention Center. Steele remains in jail pending a $50,000 bail.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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