Two teenage defendants being tried as adults in a murder case may see a third join them in circuit court soon.
Trayvon Curry and Thaddius Thomas Jr., both 16, are being tried as adults in the robbery and shooting death of Jason Spencer on Nov. 3. They appeared in a packed courtroom Friday for a pretrial hearing, which continued the case until June 1. Defense attorneys said they were still examining evidence and that a third juvenile defendant was likely to be tried as an adult.
According to a police report, Thomas and Curry were arrested days after the shooting, which happened at 1244 Everett Ave. in the Highlands, both charged with robbery and murder. Police said Spencer and his wife, Andrea Spencer, were robbed at gunpoint by four juvenile men. During the robbery, Jason Spencer was shot and was able to return fire. Spencer died at the scene. Andrea Spencer was not physically harmed.
Earlier this month, Circuit Judge Olu Stevens sealed and unsealed the case, even though neither side made a motion to do so. This is a highly unusual move, said the prominent media and First Amendment Attorney Jon Fleischaker.
“It is clearly inappropriate and improper to seal that file without any hearing, without any motion being made, there was no basis for it to be sealed,” Fleischaker said.
He added that the law in Kentucky is very clear on how to seal a case. There has to be notice and the court has to give an order and finding of facts that show the reasons of why it should be sealed. “Then there’s a huge burden, especially in a criminal case, a huge, huge burden, for closing any court proceeding,” he said. “For a judge to do it here, apparently on his own motion without any hearing and without any finding, it’s just wrong.”
Fleischaker added that while the defendants are juveniles, and being held in juvenile detention, once they’ve been moved to circuit court, they become adults in the eyes of the law, so there is no reason to keep the proceedings closed.
Stevens has not returned calls for comment on the case.