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St. Louis judge orders 12-year-old stabbing suspect to stay in custody

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | 2:00 p.m. CDT; updated 3:21 a.m. CDT, Thursday, June 19, 2008

ST. LOUIS — A 12-year-old St. Louis boy accused in the stabbing death of a 13-year-old neighbor girl will remain in custody for now.

Family Court Judge Jimmie Edwards made the ruling Wednesday and set a Sept. 17 hearing date to determine whether the boy should be certified to stand trial as an adult.

The boy’s continued detention was the recommendation of both city prosecutors and defense attorney, Paul Sims.

“He’s not a threat to the community, but we fear for his safety,” Sims told the judge.

The boy, a tiny child, appeared terrified in court. When the judge asked who was present for him, he mumbled that his father, and an older sister and her boyfriend, were in court. When asked if he understood the charges, he nodded yes.

Asked whether the boy understood the charges, Sims told reporters, “he has a child’s mind. He understands he can’t go home.”

Alexus Purtty was killed Thursday night in a fight outside her home on the city’s north side. The boy is charged with second-degree murder under the juvenile code.

But prosecutors are considering charging him as an adult. If that happens, he would become the youngest suspect in the St. Louis area to stand trial as an adult for murder, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The boy lived in a house with his elderly, invalid father and several male youths, presumably siblings. The father, rail thin, walking with a cane, and still wearing hospital bracelets, wept in court.

Sims said the father’s health is failing.

“This is a tough situation all the way around,” Sims told reporters. “This is a tragedy. Things like this are not supposed to happen.”

Alexus’ mother and grandmother appeared in court wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the girl’s photo. They declined to speak to reporters after the hearing.

Marilyn Purtty, the grandmother, told The Associated Press on Monday that her family invited the boy to her grandson’s June 14th birthday party. She said they took pity on the boy because he had been wearing the same clothes all week, and had been looking longingly at the birthday balloons hanging from the Purtty house.


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