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Angeles County | OFFICIAL BUSINESS / COURTS AND GOVERNMENT

2 Youths to Be Tried as Adults in Slaying

January 24, 1998

Two teenagers accused in the slaying of a 12-year-old who lived in their Calabasas group home--a crime that inspired countywide reforms in the supervision of delinquents--will be tried as adults.

Juvenile Court Judge Morton Rochman on Friday found Brandon Sewell and Gregory Smith, who were 16 and 17 at the time of the attack, unfit for trial as juveniles. Investigators said that shortly after the Aug. 26 crime, both admitted having beaten Rodney Haynes to death.

Lawyers for Sewell and Smith had argued that the youths should be tried in Juvenile Court because the crime was manslaughter, not premeditated murder.

Los Angeles Sheriff's Sgt. John Greenwood testified that a day before Haynes was beaten to death, he and Sewell got into a shoving match over gang affiliations at the Passageways group home where Haynes had been placed only a few days earlier. Deputy Dist. Atty. Shannon Presby said the argument provides "circumstantial evidence of the possibility of premeditation."

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