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MOORPARK | East Ventura County Focus

Most Serious Charge Against Teen Dropped

December 17, 1996|DAVID GREENBERG

Prosecutors on Monday dropped a charge of attempted murder against a 13-year-old Moorpark girl accused of shooting at classmates with her father's handgun and said they don't expect to file child-endangerment charges against the father.

The girl, whose name is being withheld due to her age, still faces two counts of assault with a semiautomatic weapon and one count of resisting arrest, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Randy Thomas, supervisor of the district attorney's juvenile crimes unit. Her hearing began Monday, and prosecutors said she could face up to nine years in a juvenile custody facility if convicted.

"It just wasn't supported by the further investigation that we did," Thomas said of the attempted-murder charge.

The girl is accused of firing at least three shots at schoolmates from her father's semiautomatic handgun outside her apartment on Nov. 18, according to sheriff's deputies and the district attorney's office. No one was hit by the gunshots.

The children had allegedly been taunting her, authorities said.

The trial is expected to last several days, according to Thomas and Deputy Public Defender James Harmon, who is representing the girl.

Neither Harmon nor the prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Leslie Kraut, would discuss the facts of the case or opening arguments, which were presented before Juvenile Court Judge Charles McGrath in a closed-door session.

"[My client] has denied the charges that were filed and has continued to deny the charges that were filed," Harmon said.

Thomas said the district attorney's office does not expect to charge the father on a misdemeanor violation of leaving a gun where a child can handle it without supervision. The gun was not loaded when the girl took possession of it, he said, and that is a requirement for a violation to occur.

The girl denied the charges at her Nov. 21 arraignment and requested a hearing.

She has remained in custody at the Clifton Tatum Center, the county's juvenile lock-up facility, since her arrest shortly after the incident, Thomas said.

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