Springfield teen’s case among many affected by supreme court decision

A Springfield teen charged in connection with the death of his brother will be tried as an adult — a decision that comes after an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that affected multiple local cases involving juveniles.

Clark County Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Monnin ruled last week that Nicholas Starling’s case would be transferred to Clark County Common Pleas Court.

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Starling, 16, was indicted Monday on charges of aggravated murder, four counts of murder and two counts of tampering with evidence, according to court records.

He’s accused of killing his 14-year-old brother, Harley Starling, by beating him with a baseball bat and stabbing him.

In May the Ohio Supreme Court overturned a decision it made at the beginning of the year that said it was unconstitutional to automatically send juveniles to adult court when they face serious charges and if a prosecutor requests it. The decision said judges needed to hold an additional hearing first, to decide if the juvenile could be rehabilitated.

Multiple cases in the Miami Valley were stalled because of that first decision, Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said, as judges reconsidered the case.

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“Everybody was kind of just waiting to see what was going to happen,” he said.

But when the court reversed its decision last month, he said, it meant judges could decide if charges facing certain juveniles warranted an automatic bind over to adult court.

Starling will be arraigned in adult court later this week, he said. The four counts of murder he faces are different, Wilson said. Starling could be convicted of more than one type, he said, but could only be sentenced for one.

“The evidence will show that the victim in this case, who is Nick Starling’s younger brother, died of blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds to the neck,” Wilson said.

DETAILS: Teen girls to face adult court in Logan County Thanksgiving killing

Rulings on other cases involving serious juvenile charges have also been handed down recently.

Ely Serna, 17, is charged with attempted murder in connection with a school shooting that happened at West Liberty-Salem High School in January.

His case has been transferred to adult court by Champaign County Juvenile Court Judge Lori Reisinger. She still has to decide on another case involving serious charges against another juvenile.

Donovan Nicholas, 14, is charged in connection with the murder of his father’s girlfriend.

The decision on Serna’s case doesn’t mean Nicholas will be moved to adult court, Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said.

Each juvenile case is unique, he said.

Two teens from Lima, Tatiana Freeman and Jasmine Lewis, both 17 at the time of their arrests, also had their cases turned over to adult court last week. Freeman and Lewis are both charged with complicity to commit robbery and complicity to commit murder in Logan County. The teens are charged in connection to the Thanksgiving day killing of 45-year-old Jeff Brentlinger.

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