Only on 12: Child answers to murder charges

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First at Five, March 24, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Monday afternoon, Judge William Sams said the 12-year-old boy accused of murdering 65-year-old Roosevelt Cowins will remain in custody at the Richmond County Youth Detention Center.

The 12-year-old is now the only murder suspect in this case, because his suspected partner in crime, 21-year-old Willie Casey, died in his jail cell. Investigators aren't releasing an official cause of death yet, but they say he probably killed himself.

Monday afternoon, the 12-year-old said very little as a judge determined his future. Quiet and scared, the little boy played with his handcuffs--real cuffs, not toys.

The judge asked his grandmother what the 12-year-old was doing out
near midnight on a school night, and his grandmother said he wasn't going to school.

His tearful grandmother and legal guardian told this to Judge Sams, "He was just loose. He was talking back to me and he never come in and I cried and I said, 'Come in here boy!' And he would just stay out there."

His mother is in jail, and his grandmother is struggling with a stroke and raising her daughter's two young sons.

"Your honor, due to the serious nature of the offense, we're asking that he be held in the detention center for the protection of the community, as well as the protection of the child," said a Representative of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Investigators say the child was running with the wrong crowd, including 21-year-old Willie Casey. He's the man deputies say took the boy to the victim's Fenwick Street home to collect a debt.

"Once Mr. Casey rang the doorbell, he then handed a long barrel revolver, " said lead Homicide Investigator James Kelly, who testified the 21-year-old fired the first two shots into the Roosevelt Cowin's back.

The 12-year-old boy said that Mr. Casey told him to go ahead and shoot him again.

Now, this child's shot at life as a teenager may be spent entirely behind bars.

The next hearing will happen in the next ten days. Judge Sams ordered the 12-year-old to get both a mental evaluation and a competency evaluation.
If they are not completed in time, the hearing may be rescheduled.

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