INDIANAPOLIS — The two teens arranged to meet two other young men to trade a handgun for a handgun in a west side neighborhood on a Friday evening last month, court records say.
Instead of making the trade, Marion County prosecutors say Anthony Spearmon, 16, and Comfort Glass, 17, took the other man's gun before one of them shot Jahmal Houston in the chest. Houston, 19, died less than an hour later at Eskenazi Hospital.
Spearmon and Glass are the latest Indianapolis juveniles to be charged as adults for violent crimes. There are 13 others currently facing trial on adult murder charges in Marion County for crimes they are accused of committing when they were juveniles. Cases for two more juveniles have recently been resolved.
On May 3, prosecutors charged Spearmon and Glass as adults with murder and robbery in Houston's death. Detectives linked the teens to the shooting through social media messages, security camera video and statements from witnesses. according to a probable cause affidavit.
Under Indiana law, juveniles age 16 or 17 who are charged with murder, armed robbery, rape and other violent crimes are automatically tried as an adult. This is called a direct file.
From 2018 to 2021, 455 juveniles were automatically tried as adults for murder and other crimes; 168, or about a third of those direct file cases, came from Marion County, according to annual reports published by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
Children as young as 13 can be tried as adults on a murder charge, but it's not automatic. A judge ultimately makes the decision.
Judges waived 127 juveniles into the adult court from 2018 to 2021; 17 of those youths came from Marion County, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
Juvenile courts exist because society understands that a child's brain is still developing. Studies have found adolescents are more likely to take risks and act on impulse.
"Kids don't have the life experience. they don't have the maturity and they don't have the biological brains that adults have," said Joel Wieneke, a senior counsel for the Indiana Public Defender Council who specializes in juvenile justice issues. "They oftentimes get themselves into situations that an adult wouldn't put themselves in to begin with."
Teens are often unable to consider consequences of their actions, Wieneke said. They act without thinking.
"And we get a horrible circumstance. A victim who may have lost their life, and a young man who is looking at a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 years and potentially the rest of their life in prison," he said.
Below is a list of the 15 youths who are currently on trial for murder in Marion County. The list does not include a 13-year-old boy who was charged in juvenile court with murder for allegedly shooting and killing Antonia Reiner, 69, on Oct. 10 inside her home in the 1200 block of Windsor Street.
Also absent from the list is another 13-year-old boy was charged in juvenile court with murder in the death of Cecelkia O'Bryan, 77, who was found beaten and cut or stabbed to death in her west-side home on Feb. 11.
Prosecutors have asked judges to waive the cases of both 13-year-old murder suspects into the adult court.
Here is a breakdown of the juvenile offenders facing murder charges in adult court:
Anthony Spearmon, currently 16, and Comfort Glass, currently 17.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Comfort Glass was 17 and Anthony Spearmon was 16 when they met another youth and Jahmal Houston, 19, on the west side to trade handguns on April 22. During the meeting, court records say Glass took the other youth's gun. When that youth tried to grab it back, records say Spearmon shot Houston in the chest. Houston died at Eskenazi Hospital.
On May 3, Marion County prosecutor's charged Spearmon and Glass with murder and robbery.
Caden Smith, currently 17.
Caden Smith was 16 in October when Marion County prosecutors say he gunned down Michael James, 22, Abdulla Mubarak, 17, and Joseph Thomas, 18.
The young men's bodies along with more than 50 bullet casings were found Oct. 12 in a remote field on the south side in the 4400 block of South Meridian Street near Interstate 465. Detectives linked Smith to the crime through electronic communications, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Prosecutors charged Smith on Dec. 3 with murder, robbery, possession of a machine gun, dangerous possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and resisting law enforcement. A jury trial is scheduled for July 18.
Jahion Jarrett, currently 17; turns 18 on May 22.
Jahion Jarrett was charged in adult court with murder, robbery and other crimes in the July 8 shooting death of Lyft driver Hurts Presendieu, 45.
Presendieu's body was found July 9 behind a building on the property of a church in the 9400 block of East 25th Street. On July 30, prosecutors charged Jarrett as an adult with murder, robbery, resisting law enforcement and dangerous possession of a firearm.
Records show Jarrett has a hearing scheduled for May 24 in Marion Superior Court. A jury trial has not been scheduled.
Sylvester Ford, currently 18.
Sylvester Ford was 16 on Feb. 16, 2020, when prosecutors say he shot and killed his uncle, Devon Ford, 28, at a home in the 100 block of Diplomat Court in Beech Grove.
Ford was charged with murder on Feb. 16, 2020. A jury trial is scheduled for June 6.
Knowledge Jones, currently 17.
Knowledge Jones, 16, is accused of shooting Kea'Asia Grundy, 20, and a juvenile about 9 p.m. Aug. 30 in the 3400 block of North Sherman Drive. The juvenile was wounded and Grundy died from her injuries.
On Sept. 14, prosecutors charged Jones as an adult with murder, battery and dangerous possession of a firearm. A jury trial has been scheduled for June 13.
Desmond Banks, currently 19.
Desmond Banks was 17 when prosecutors say he and three others gunned down four people on Feb. 5 at a northeast-side apartment in the 4100 block of Shady Oak Drive
Marcel Wills, 20, Braxton Ford, 21, Kimari Hunt, 21, and Jalen Roberts, 19, were found in the apartment shot multiple times.
A witness told police people were gambling at the apartment. Court records say Banks and his co-defendants, Rodreice Anderson, 19, Cameron Banks, 19, and Lasean Watkins, 19, went there to commit a robbery when the shootings happened.
Desmond Banks and the other three men were charged with murder and robbery. Jury trials for Desmond Banks and the other three are scheduled to begin in August.
Raymond Ronald Lee Childs III, currently 18.
Raymond Ronald Lee Childs III was 17 on Jan. 24, 2021, when prosecutors say he shot and killed five people and an unborn child at a home on Adams Street.
According to court records, the teen fatally shot his relatives Rita Childs, 13, Elijah Childs, 18, Kezzie Childs, 42, and Raymond Childs Jr., 42, along with his brother's pregnant girlfriend Kiara Hawkins, 19, and her unborn child at a home in the 3500 block of Adams Street. Another 15-year-old relative was wounded and survived the shooting, prosecutors say.
Raymond Childs III was charged Jan. 28 with six counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and carrying a handgun without a license. No date is currently set for a jury trial.
Bethany Shaffer, currently 19.
Bethany Shaffer was 17 when prosecutors say she shot and killed Kiana Mimms,18, while Mimms drove in a car in the the 2700 block of Baltimore Avenue on April 24, 2021.
Prosecutors charged Shaffer with murder and carrying a handgun with a license on Nov. 5. A jury trial is scheduled for July 27.
Domonique J. Freeman, currently 19.
Domonique J. Freeman was 17 when prosecutors say he fatally shot Randall Jenkins, 18, on Oct. 16, 2020, in the 2700 block of Hyche Avenue on the northeast side.
On Jan. 21, prosecutors charged Freeman with murder and carrying a handgun with a license. A trial is scheduled for July 25.
Kelyn Harris, currently 18.
Kelyn Harris was 17 when prosecutors say he shot and killed Ezekiel Watkins and Frederick Small at a northeast-side Phillips 66 gas station in the 3800 block of North Mitthoeffer Road on May 21.
Harris was charged on July 7 with two counts of murder. No jury trial is scheduled. A hearing is set for June 23.
Eric Copeland, currently 18.
Eric Copeland was just 14 in December 2018 when prosecutors say he shot and killed Gregory Raley during a robbery at a Dollar General Store on East Washington Street in Cumberland. Raley, 37, walked in while Copeland and Steven Sheppard, then-18, were robbing the store, court records say.
On Aug. 26, 2020, Copeland was charged as an adult with murder and robbery. Copeland and his codefendant Sheppard, who also faces murder and robbery charges, are scheduled to go on trial July 11.
Andy Rosales Orellana, currently 19.
Andy Rosales Orellana was 17 on Oct. 9, 2019, when prosecutors say he and others were involved in the death of Meliton Angel Salazar, 22.
Salazar was found badly beaten under a bridge over the White River off West Washington Street and died later at a hospital. Rosales Orellana was charged with murder and robbery on Jan. 13, 2020.
Fernando Bornstein, 20, and Jacqueline Lizarraga, 21, were also charged with murder in Salazar's death, records show. Lizarraga and Rosales Orellana have hearings scheduled for September.
Bornstein is scheduled to go on trial for murder in October. Bornstein was 18 at the time of Salazar's death.
Lei Gamble, currently 18, and Isaiah Davie-Franks, currently 16.
Lei Gamble was 17 and Isaiah Davie-Franks was 16 on Sept. 1, 2021, when prosecutors say they shot Israel Eduardo Raymundo Cruz, 45, in the 4200 block of North Post Road in Lawrence. Raymundo Cruz died on Sept. 6.
Gamble was charged with murder, robbery, pointing a firearm and carrying a handgun without a license on Sept. 7. A jury trial is scheduled for June 13.
Davie-Franks was charged with murder, robbery, resisting law enforcement, battery by bodily waste and carrying a handgun without a license on Nov. 9. A jury trial is scheduled for June 13.
Two more resolved cases
Two more juveniles who who were charged as adults for murder have seen their cases resolved in recent weeks. One young man was sentenced today; the other was found not guilty two weeks ago.
Ron-Ricco Allen Duncan, currently 20.
Ron-Ricco Allen Duncan was 17 when prosecutors say he fatally shot Gerald Beamon Jr., 18, at a vacant home in the 3200 block of North Ruckle Street on the north side. Officers found Beamon's body on April 1, 2019. Prosecutors charged Duncan with murder and armed robbery on Sept. 12, 2019.
A judge found Duncan guilty of murder and robbery on April 19. During a hearing Thursday, Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner sentenced Duncan to 48 years in prison, two years suspended and two years on probation, records show.
Dejuan Taylor, currently 18.
Dejuan Taylor was 16 when prosecutors say he shot and killed Elijah Taylor, 16, on Nov. 17, 2019, at a west-side apartment complex. Dejuan Taylor is accused of shooting Elijah Taylor while attempting to rob him of a Play Station 4 and a phone. Dejuan Taylor is not related to Elijah.
Dejuan Taylor was charged on Dec. 18, 2019, with murder, robbery and dangerous possession of a firearm.
A jury found Taylor not guilty on May 5.
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at email@example.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.