Trial in Thornton death case set for late August

Three Arkansas teenagers were in court again Thursday for a hearing on motions by defense attorneys to try each defendant separately for the death of Kevin Thornton of Juneau.

Defense attorneys also argued to suppress statements given to investigators during interviews with the teens as well as a detention center officer’s statement that two of the boys allegedly laughed when they were told Thornton had died.

Kevin Thornton

Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Ed Koon took both motions under advisement and gave attorneys five days to file briefs supporting their motions. He gave prosecutors two additional days to answer defense briefs.

Judge Koon on Wednesday denied a motion to transfer the case to juvenile court.

The three boys were ages 16 and 17 in August 2011 when they were charged in adult criminal court for second degree murder and violent group activity in connection with the case.

Now Richard Whybark is 18, Timothy Norwood will be 18 next month, and Clinton Ross is 17. With Koon’s ruling, there is no question that they will be tried as adults.

Thornton, a 2010 Thunder Mountain High School graduate, died one year ago today (on July 27, 2011). Thornton had been visiting friends in the Malvern area and was walking along a road when he was allegedly assaulted by the boys.

Steve Good of the Hot Spring County Now! online news service reports that Judge Koon has set a three-day trial in Malvern circuit court, beginning August 29.