Boys may be tried as adults for murder

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Stanley Freeman Jr., 16, was shot and killed Feb. 12, 2021.

Prosecutors are seeking to have two children tried as adults for allegedly shooting another teenager to death last month.

The suspects, 16-year-old Deondre Davis and 14-year-old Rashan Jordan, appeared Wednesday before Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin.

The judge ruled the boys should be held in custody pending trial, according to the Knox County District Attorney General’s office.

Also, he scheduled a June 18 hearing to determine if they should be put on trial and, if convicted, punished as adults. The boys could be forced to spend the rest of their lives behind bars if that happens.

They are currently charged in juvenile petitions with being delinquent by committing first-degree murder.

Davis was attending virtual classes at Gibbs High School until the date of his arrest, while Jordan was enrolled at Austin-East, said a spokesperson for the Knox County school system. It wasn’t clear, however, when Jordan last attended school.

The two boys allegedly opened fire on a car driven by 16-year-old Stanley Freeman Jr. as he was pulling away from Austin-East on Feb. 12, according to the Knoxville Police Department. Freeman was struck multiple times and tried to drive away but ended up crashing nearby on Wilson Ave.

The suspects were allegedly in a vehicle themselves and opened fire from Tarelton Ave. before driving away.

Police have said they’ve been unable to determine a possible motive for the shooting. 

Authorities have stressed they believe the killing was premeditated, leading to the most severe criminal charge that can be brought against a person. They’ve also said they can’t explain publicly how they know the killing was premeditated without a motive.

Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin

Freeman was the second of four teens who attended Austin-East to be killed by gunfire in a seven-week period this year.

The first was  Justin Taylor, 15, who was accidentally shot and killed by a friend Jan. 27. Janaria Muhammad, 15, was fatally shot outside her home on Feb. 16.  Jamarion “Lil Dada” Gillette died early March 11 at a local hospital, several hours after he was brought in by a motorist who found him suffering from a gunshot wound on Cherokee Trail.

Their deaths were only the most recent tragedies in the midst of an unprecedented surge of deadly violence that has touched every corner of the city.

The bloodshed continued last night when a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after he was shot following a domestic dispute at an apartment complex near Papermill Drive in West Knoxville.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, there have been 14 slayings, all of them involving firearms. In comparison, by this time in 2020 there had been six homicides.

There were 37 homicides in Knoxville in 2020, more than the previous high of 35 in 1998.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com.

Published on March 18, 2021