DALLAS - The teenagers accused of robbing a Dallas couple and several others appeared in juvenile court Thursday. The couple is fighting for them to be tried as adults.
The six teen suspects, ranging in age from 13 to 16, have been in the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center for the past 10 days. Only four of them were at Thursday’s hearing.
Juvenile court Judge Andrea Martin asked the public to leave before hearing arguments for and against moving the case to an adult criminal court. A community activist told FOX 4 in the hallway that she is against trying them as adults.
It's been 10 days since Caroline and Garrett Scharton were frantically forced to look down the barrel of guns wielded by teenagers in Oak Cliff on July 22.
The attack first gained a lot of attention because it was captured on surveillance video. After the six juvenile suspects were arrested, they were also accused of committing other aggravated robberies.
The district attorney's office is seeking to have the four in court to be considered adults. The Schartons said investigators told them the suspects would likely just receive probation, if that. They complain that the system seems flawed.
"It's like we have no rights, almost,” Caroline said. “Everything is to protect the alleged juvenile until they're certified — if and when they're certified as adults. Everybody else is a victim. We're protecting people who are violent criminals, and it's very frustrating."
Olinka Green says she's not related either of the teens but is closely monitoring the case as a community activist. Despite the violent nature of the crimes, she believes they should not be considered adults.
"I don't condone what the youth did. Apparently, they are misguided. But I don't think you need to throw a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old away like that,” she said. “It's a redeeming factor somewhere. Somebody somewhere can make these children be better adults. But you don't just throw their lives away.”
"I'm hoping the judge is fair and hands down a punishment that fits the crime,” Garrett said.
A petition was created and it has more than 2,000 signatures asking Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson to request the court to charge these teens as adults.
Judge Martin has not yet made a decision on the matter.
The next hearing in the case is not yet scheduled. The Schartons say they were told they'd get that information within 7 to 10 days.