Updated February 9, 2022 - 6:30 pm
A 16-year-old Las Vegas boy accused of stabbing another student on campus in December will not be charged as an adult, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The boy, whose name was not publicly released, was arrested Dec. 15 after police said he stabbed a student at Cimarron-Memorial High School, 2301 N. Tenaya Way, before school that day.
In a hearing Tuesday to determine whether the boy would be charged as an adult, prosecutor Brandon Lewis said the other student tackled the teen before the then-15-year-old pulled out a knife and stabbed the other boy nine times. The student suffered internal and external injuries that required surgery, the prosecutor said.
The boy who was arrested “nearly severed his right index finger,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the teen already was on disciplinary watch because he brought a knife to school on Dec. 3 and that his family was planning to seek the help of The Harbor’s Truancy Prevention Outreach Program because he was skipping school and holding a 0.33 GPA.
Defense attorney John Turco argued the teen brought the knife to campus because he was afraid of gang activity at school and anonymous threats he had received on social media.
“He’s not a man,” Turco said. “He’s a boy, a 15-year-old boy who’s 5-10, 150 pounds. He’s on an island by himself being threatened and harassed by an unknown group of people.”
Turco asked Family Court Judge David Gibson to let the boy’s case remain at the juvenile level. Turco said he feared sending the teen to the county jail with “killers,” based on his psychological evaluation, which indicated possible suicidal tendencies.
Gibson took into account the evaluation, which also showed the teen has a cannabis use disorder, and considered the rehabilitation the boy might not be able to receive in adult prison.
“He is very young, just barely 16,” Gibson said. “The court is concerned about scoring high on 3 out of 4 suicidal ideation scales in conjunction with the drug use issue. It’s very hard to argue self-defense when you bring a knife to a fistfight, but it also reflects very poor judgment that is indicative of his immature and undeveloped thought processes.”
After nearly an hour of discussion, Gibson said he would not be certifying the boy. The boy’s mother, who has attended every hearing virtually since his arrest, cried and said “thank you.”
The boy remains in custody at the Juvenile Detention Center. Lewis and Turco plan to negotiate the case with the hope of avoiding trial, the two said at the end of the hearing.