Springfield teen charged in death of 14-year-old brother

A 14-year-old Springfield boy was killed in his home and police have alleged that evidence in the case points to his 16-year-old brother as the suspect.

Harley Starling was found dead by his grandmother Monday morning in their home in the 2200 block of Superior Avenue, according to a Springfield Police Division report.

After hours of investigating at the scene Monday, Capt. Mike Hill said police arrested Harley’s brother, Nicholas Starling, on delinquency charges of murder and tampering with evidence in connection with the death.

“It’s a definite shame, it’s tragic,” Hill said.

>>RELATED: Child, 14, dead in Springfield; brother, 16, charged

Springfield police haven’t released any information about injuries Harley sustained or what might have caused his death.

The boy’s grandmother, Johna Pulliam, told investigators that the last time she saw her grandson Harley alive, he was playing with costume blood and watching a movie about 9 p.m. Sunday, the police report says, then he went to his room.

Pulliam then found the teen dead in his bed about 5:30 a.m. Monday, according to the police report.

The boy was “cold to the touch,” the police report says, and “was clearly dead and had been for several hours.”

The body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy, Clark County Coroner Richard Marsh said, and no information about an initial cause of death was released.

Neighbors on the quiet street where the crime happened said they were shocked by police circling the house Monday for hours.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years and I haven’t had any trouble,” neighbor Judy Farmer said.

Other neighbors told her they saw detectives place a baseball bat into an evidence bag behind the home, she said.

Police declined to release any information about possible weapons used in the killing.

“We’re not going to jeopardize the investigation basically right now on how this was committed,” Hill said.

But the death was a homicide, he added.

The investigation was ongoing Tuesday, Hill said, with detectives continuing to talk to people in the home, including Nicholas Starling.

The 16-year-old appeared in front of a Clark County Juvenile Court magistrate Tuesday afternoon to be read the charges he faces.

The teen didn’t speak, kept his hands behind his back and had his feet shackled as he was led in and out of the courtroom.

Nicholas Starling is next scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, according to court records.

No decision has been made as to whether the teen’s case could be moved to adult court, prosecutors said. The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office will let police finish their initial investigation before any decisions are made, Assistant Prosecutor Dan Driscoll said.

Harley Starling was a Springfield High School student, as is his older brother.

The Springfield City School District had grief counselors for students at the schools starting Monday, and will continue to make them available as long as necessary, the school said in a statement.

That teen is currently booked in the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.

A vigil will be held for Harley Starling at 6 p.m. Thursday at Snyder Park near the spraygrounds.

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