Kevin Thornton case remains in Arkansas adult court

An Arkansas judge has denied a motion to try three teenagers accused of Kevin Thornton’s murder in juvenile court, assuring they will be tried as adults.

Seventh Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Ed Koon denied the motion Wednesday and also scheduled a hearing Thursday to hear defendants’ motions to sever the case and try each teen separately.

Richard Whybark, Timothy Norwood and Clinton Ross were ages 16 and 17 in August 2011 when they were charged with Thornton’s death in adult criminal court. Since then Whybark has turned 18, Norwood will be 18 early next month and Ross was 17 in April.

In October, defense attorneys filed the motion to move the case to juvenile court, and asked to sever the single case, arguing that trying the boys together would force them to testify against each other.

Steve Good reports in the online news service, Hot Spring County NOW! that Koon today also will hear defense attorneys’ arguments on why certain evidence in the case should be suppressed.

Thornton, of Juneau, was 19 when he was allegedly assaulted by the boys as he was walking with a friend down a Malvern-area road. He died of his injuries on July 27, a week after the alleged attack, which prosecutors called “completely unprovoked.”

The boys were charged with second degree murder after his death. They were held in separate juvenile facilities until earlier this year, when Whybark and Norwood were released to their parents in February and May respectively, both on $40,000 bond.

Earlier this month, bond was set at $40,000 for Ross.