Two 16-year old boys are expected to be tried in juvenile court today, February 22, on charges of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice in connection with the shooting of a Utah girl from the Smithfield area last week.
Deserae Turner, 14, was reported missing Thursday when she did not return home from school. She was found semi-conscious around 12:45 a.m. near a canal after being shot in the head, according to a Smithfield City Police Department press release. She was taken to a Logan area hospital then transferred to a Salt Lake area hospital after her injuries were deemed significant.
The 14-year-old girl was lured to the dry canal near Sky View High School by the boys “under the guise of selling her a knife” reports The Herald Journal.
The teens were contacted by law enforcement but both initially denied seeing her at all. The Herald Journal reports that when the matter turned into to a criminal case, detectives discovered that the boys had been in contact with her.
They had reportedly planned her death in advance, planning to use a knife, but one of the boys told police he brought a .22 caliber handgun as a backup. Court records state the gun is believed to be the one used in the shooting and investigators have seized the handgun along with a number of other items. They are still actively working on the case says according to The Herald Journal.
Cache County Attorney James Swink said in a press conference Tuesday that his office ultimately plans to charge them both as adults, a move allowed under the state’s serious youth offender law. The process begins in juvenile court, and after a number of procedures, the case can be transferred to the adult court in the next 10-30 days.
Jill Parker, a spokeswoman with Cache County Victims Advocate Group also spoke on behalf of the family at the press conference, saying that Deserae is in a medically induced coma in critical condition and is currently “in the fight of her life.”
Donations to the Deserae Turner Charity Fund can be made at America First Credit Union branches, and an online fundraiser for Deserae’s family has raised nearly $24,000 in four days. It can be viewed at gofundme.com/fight-for-