Arkansas boys accused of Juneau teen’s murder want case dismissed

Three Arkansas teens accused of the murder of Kevin Thornton of Juneau say their cases should be dismissed. The motion will be heard by a judge today.

Timothy Tyler Norwood, 16, Clinton Lavon Ross, 16, and Richard Shelby Wybark, 17, are charged with second-degree murder and an aggravating count of violent group activity.

Their case has been filed in Hot Spring County Circuit Court and they are to be tried as adults.

The 19-year-old Thornton was visiting in the Malvern, Arkansas area in July when he was attacked while walking along a road with a friend. He died from his injuries July 27 in a Little Rock hospital. Hot Spring County Sheriff’s investigators called it a random assault.

Four boys were initially arrested in the case. Charges have been dropped against a 14-year-old.

In motions filed with the court late last week, attorneys for each of the three defendants argue the murder charges were incorrectly filed in criminal court.

They say the Arkansas law allowing a juvenile to be charged in adult criminal court is unconstitutional as well as cruel and unusual punishment, because the juvenile charged with a capital murder can be subject to a life sentence without parole.

The motions ask the judge to dismiss the case, or failing that, transfer the case to juvenile court.

Motions also were filed Thursday to suppress statements made by each boy to law enforcement officials. Attorneys argue the teens were not adequately advised of their rights when they were taken into custody.

A grand jury indictment indicates all three boys waived their rights in writing with a parent present and were interviewed by a Hot Spring County sheriff’s investigator.

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