Prosecutors are building their case against 15-year-old Natasha Ellis. New witness testimony and video shown in court are giving more details about the night of a fatal stabbing.
A probable cause hearing was held in Clark County Juvenile Court on Tuesday morning. The prosecution’s goal was to show why Ellis’ case should be moved to adult court.
The teen is charged in juvenile court with one count of murder and two counts of felonious assault in connection to the stabbing that happened on North Church Street in New Carlisle in May.
The stabbing killed a woman and injured a man and their 17-year-old son.
Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies say the victims in the case were the family members of Ellis’ 13-year-old friend.
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Ellis has been accused of carrying out the attack, but the 13-year-old has also been charged in juvenile court with the same crimes because deputies say the two girls plotted the entire attack together.
Deputy Amanda Penewit was one of the first people on the scene in May, and her testimony in court on Tuesday described how in-depth the planning was between the two girls.
Penewit’s body camera shows graphic video of her entering the home that night. There’s screaming and victims covered in blood in the living room.
Penewit said the man and his son had been holding the 15-year-old down on the floor until help arrived.
“Once I got the cuffs on (Ellis),” Penewit said in court. “One thing that really stood out to me, she had on yellow rubber gloves.”
Penewit said once she put Ellis in a patrol car, Ellis wanted to tell her everything that happened.
She described to Penewit, as well as Clark County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jonathan Snyder that she and her friend had been planning the attack for a very long time.
Ellis said she believed her friend was being mentally and physically abused by her father.
“He’ll call her fat, ugly,” Ellis told investigators. “Sometimes he’ll limit what she eats.”
Ellis said the friend asked her to “take care of it” for her and the plot to harm the family was born.
During a video interview between Snyder and Ellis at the sheriff’s office, Ellis is noticeably calm as she explains there were plans to have a knife ready for Ellis when she entered the house and other arrangements to hide a phone in the house so no one could call 9-1-1.
The 13-year-old did end up calling 9-1-1 that night, and when deputies got to the house, they found 36-year-old Lee Moore unresponsive in the living room along with 56-year-old Paul Greear and his 17-year-old son with several stab wounds.
Greear was also called in to testify on Tuesday. When asked by prosecutors if he was able to determine who stabbed him and Moore that night, he replied: “Yeah, that devil right there did it,” Greear said, pointing to Ellis.
Ellis’ attorney, John Meehling asked questions of Greear, as well as the other two witnesses about how well lit the room was where deputies found the victims. Meehling also raised questions about the reading of Ellis her Miranda Rights and why she was questioned without her parents present.
After over an hour of testimony, questioning and evidence presentation, Clark County Juvenile Court Judge Katrine Lancaster ruled there was probable cause that Ellis committed the crimes.
The next step in the process to charging Ellis as an adult is an amenability hearing. The purpose of that is to determine if Ellis can be rehabilitated in the juvenile system.
Prosecutors have previously said that because of her age, the 13-year-old suspect cannot be tried as an adult.
Ellis’ next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26.
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