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Ruling on Trying Boy as Adult Delayed

Southern California IN BRIEF / SAN DIEGO

April 21, 2001|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A judge Friday delayed ruling on whether Charles Andrew Williams, 15, accused of killing two students and wounding 13 people at Santana High School in Santee, should be tried as an adult or juvenile.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Herbert Exharos said he needs another week to study arguments by Williams' attorneys challenging Proposition 21, the measure adopted by voters last year that allows prosecutors to file murder charges against juveniles in Superior Court.

The measure shifted from judges to prosecutors the power to decide which children are tried in Superior Court. Williams' attorneys allege that the measure is legally flawed because it concerns more than one issue and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Williams, who remained silent during the brief hearing, is charged with 28 felonies in the March 5 rampage. He is being held without bail at Juvenile Hall.

About 20 teenagers and adults who feel sympathy for Williams because of his youth and his history of being tormented by fellow students attended the hearing.

Also in attendance was an aunt of one of the victims, who said she has collected more than 1,600 signatures on a petition asking the judge to rule that Williams should be tried as an adult.

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