Reviewing the school records of a 14-year-old accused of killing another teen during a marijuana deal, Judge Shelly Stratman said she was amazed that he had never gone through juvenile court.
Now’s not the time to start, the judge ruled.
In a 14-page order issued Tuesday, Stratman refused a defense motion to transfer Tyon Wells’ case to juvenile court. Prosecutors have charged Wells with second-degree murder in the shooting that killed Zachary Parker, 17, and injured Devon Darnell, 17.
Stratman said Wells, who was initiated into the Flatland Bloods gang at age 12, has too many ties to gangs, too much drug use, too much experience handling guns and too many angry outbursts on his school record.
Wells’ record includes more than 50 disciplinary actions against him in the last two years he was in and out of Monroe and McMillan Middle Schools in Omaha.
Wells once had to be restrained from attacking his school basketball coach. During another fit, he lashed out at lunch, turning over several carts and toppling a heavy cart toward cafeteria workers. He also threatened a bus driver who wouldn’t let him off the bus at someone else’s stop.
He was sent to the Omaha Public Schools’ alternative school and promptly got kicked out of that school for fighting.
“It is unclear why numerous threatening and assaultive behaviors, which led to defendant’s expulsion from various schools, were not handled through juvenile court,” Stratman wrote.
Stratman then detailed Wells’ conduct beyond school, including his initiation into the Flatland Bloods gang at age 12. During that initiation, he stood in the middle of a circle and was “beaten” into the gang. From his 12th birthday on, he began smoking marijuana every day. He also was known to hold firearms for older gang members — even posting a photo on Facebook of him holding a firearm, the judge wrote.
On Feb. 25, an armed Wells and two other teens went to meet Parker and others who were known to sell pot.
A friend of Parker’s became nervous because the teens were lurking and suggested that they do the deal the next day. At that, authorities allege, Wells pulled out a gun and demanded the marijuana.
When the driver of Parker’s car began to pull away, Wells fired into the car, clipping the driver and killing Parker.
The judge concluded: “Defendant’s extreme impulsivity and access to firearms weighs against transfer” to juvenile court.