PIERRE (AP) — A Pierre teen accused of killing a classmate will be released from jail and live with his grandparents in Vermillion as he awaits a decision on whether his case will be handled in adult or juvenile court.
Hughes County Judge John Brown granted a defense request Monday to release 17-year-old Braiden McCahren on bond. The required 10 percent of the $250,000 bond already was posted, so McCahren was expected to be released Monday, KCCR-AM reported.
McCahren pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the Dec. 18, 2012, shooting death of 16-year-old Dalton Williams at McCahren’s home. McCahren was 16 at the time and has been in custody without bond since.
The South Dakota Supreme Court earlier this month ordered a judge to reconsider whether McCahren should be tried in adult court. His trial, which had been scheduled to start Jan. 21, was called off and not rescheduled.
McCahren will be under house arrest at the home of his grandparents, Lee and Nancy McCahren, of Vermillion. He will take high school classes online offered by an alternative school in Vermillion. He must be supervised at all times.
Brown’s decision came after an hour-long hearing that at times became emotional.
Defense attorney William Taylor, of Sioux Falls, told Brown that his decision could only be centered on McCahren’s constitutional rights. Taylor said McCahren would not take off and not be a threat to people or the community.
But special prosecutor Michael Moore argued that McCahren had shown no remorse and had challenged authority while in juvenile detention. Moore read a letter from Williams’ parents who opposed the bond request, saying that the loss of their son has left a void in their lives.
“We will never get a chance to spend another holiday with him,” they wrote.
The mother of a third boy who was there when Williams was killed also spoke to the judge, saying that she feared for her son’s life.
“(Dalton Williams) was killed by a bullet that was meant for (the third juvenile),” the mother said. “Braiden wants my son dead.”
Brown agreed it was an emotional case. But he also said that McCahren, while charged, has not been found guilty and has certain constitutional rights.
“If there was a way to change the circumstances, Lord knows we would have done it,” Brown said.