ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - In the span of just a few days, two shootings left multiple families in shambles and the community concerned about the state of crime not only in Anchorage but specifically as it affects our youth, including the heinous acts of two youngsters accused of being involved in two separate murders that left two others - not yet out of their teen years - dead.
"We're talking about a kid carrying a gun at 12 years old," Anchorage District Attorney John Novak, a veteran lawyer of more than three decades, said of a fatal shooting near the Chester Creek Trail on Sunday in which a 12-year-old was arrested. "I mean, really?"
Minors - a 12-year-old boy in one incident and a 16-year-old boy, Kayden McIntosh, in the other - were charged in relation to the separate homicide cases, with their ages now playing a role in the degrees of consequences they face. Much of that decision lies in the hands of the court.
At least one of the accused, McIntosh, will be tried as an adult.
"When it comes to juveniles involved in crime, there are - frankly - a lot of different rules," said Anchorage Police Department Chief Justin Doll.
In short, it's all on a case-by-case basis, though the two-year span between 16 and 18 years more often leans toward full punishment versus the punishment those under 16 often face.
"If you're between 16 and 18 and you commit a serious crime - what we refer to as a Class A or Unclassified Felony - you can be treated as an adult," Novak said. "The court has to find that the person can't be rehabilitated by their 19th birthday."
Those under 16 who are accused of committing a serious crime may find themselves in somewhat similar circumstances, though proving rehabilitation unlikely can be more difficult since more time is allotted for treatment, simply based on the defendant's age.
"You have to go to court, establish probable cause," Novak said. "The court has a trial, essentially, on whether the person can be rehabilitated before they're 20 years old."
With two deadly shootings and minors involved in both, charging the accused as juveniles or adults is a consideration the courts now must make.
"With violent crimes, they can be treated like adults," Doll said. "It depends on the circumstances."
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