From Crime team 12, the former Greenbrier football star who is charged with sex crimes will be tried out of the public spotlight. Judge Duncan Wheale ruled today the case against Reggie Rice will move to juvenile court. Shadrick Harris' case is also going there.
Judge Wheale hinted this is what he would do at last week's hearing when both defendants pleaded not guilty to similar sex charges. Including Reggie Rice's count of rape.
The other minors involved have been in juvenile court all along. Rice appeared today, and Harris' attorney appeared on his behalf. The
decision made today will move all six cases under one judge.
"Superior court is now in session..."
This may be the last time Reggie and Shad hear those words.
"I believe it would be more efficient for these cases to be in juvenile court." said Judge Wheale.
This is Judge Duncan Wheale's ruling after reading a seventy-five page report from prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Shad Harris faces charges of aggravated child molestation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Reggie faces similar charges, plus one count of rape.
"It appears from the file that all six children participated in sexual acts on the night in question." said the judge.
Prosecutor hank syms argues shad and reggie should stay in superior court because they're seventeen. Judge wheale says another boy's case is in juvenile court, so it's only fair all three of them are.
"One of the things that bothers me in this case is the 16-year-old who's now 17 is the instigator." the judge said.
But the three girls are too young, and judge Wheale wants all the cases under the same judge.
The supporters of Reggie Rice and Shad Harris came to superior court for the last time. And when the case is moved to juvenile, the only people involved directly in the case will be allowed in.
Not even supporter Melony Saldivar will be allowed into the courtroom.
I'm pleased with the judge's ruling." Melony said.
Shad's attorney says juvenile will keep their identities a secret: "I think it's the kind of misbehavior the juvenile courts were designed to deal with." Michael Garrett said.
Judge Wheale refused to give rice the maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of rape. Without the possibility of that sentence, Rice is no longer legally bound to superior court.
"I'm not looking for mercy, I'm looking for justice. And i think that's where justice will be served." Judge Wheale said.
The case is now in the hands of juvenile court. That judge can transfer the case back to Judge Wheale if necessary.