10-year-old accused of murder enters "not true" plea - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

10-year-old accused of murder enters "not true" plea

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Authorities did not release the deceased boy's name, but his family identified him to reporters as Ryan Carter (pictured above). Authorities did not release the deceased boy's name, but his family identified him to reporters as Ryan Carter (pictured above).

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 10-year-old East County boy accused of fatally stabbing a 12-year-old friend in the driveway of the alleged stabber's home appeared before a judge Thursday and entered a "not true" plea, which is the juvenile equivalent of not guilty, to charges of murder and felony assault with a deadly weapon.

The boy answered yes when Juvenile Court Judge Carolyn Caietti asked him if he would waive time so his next hearing could be on Feb. 23.

The child -- who was ordered detained at Juvenile Hall -- conferred with Deputy Public Defender Marian Gaston before answering the judge. The victim's adoptive mother was at the hearing, but did not speak.

Craig Stover, director of Institutional Services for the county Probation Department, told the judge that the accused was behaving well in Juvenile Hall.

The child will undergo a psychological evaluation and his competency will be addressed at the next hearing, Gaston said.

If convicted, the 10-year-old could be held in the Juvenile Justice system until age 25, said Deputy District Attorney Victor Barr. A child under 14 can't be tried in adult court, where the objective is punishment, not rehabilitation.

"This is a tragic, tragic case for everybody involved," Barr told reporters outside court. "It's tragic for the victim, the victim's family. It's tragic for the minor and the minor's family."

Barr said the decision to charge the child with murder was made after a meeting with senior attorneys from his office.

The prosecutor said he couldn't recall the last time a child as young as 10 was prosecuted for murder in San Diego County

The accused, described by neighbors as a troubled youngster prone to outbursts of anger and aggression, allegedly stabbed Ryan Carter in the chest about 1:15 p.m. Monday on a driveway in the 12500 block of Royal Road in the unincorporated Winter Gardens area, near El Cajon.

The victim was a sixth-grader at Foothills Christian Elementary School in Lakeside.

Medics took the victim to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where he was pronounced dead about 2:30 p.m., sheriff's Lt. Larry Nesbit said.

Nesbit declined to comment on what might have prompted the suspect to carry out the fatal assault in front of his home with a kitchen knife.

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