DALLAS - A court hearing for a 15-year-old accused of murdering a Dallas mother of six was postponed because no parent or guardian showed up.
Police said the boy shot and killed Gabrielle Simmons during a robbery last week at an east Oak Cliff Dollar General. It happened right before she was set to finish her workday.
Surveillance video shows the shooter walk up to Simmons and demanded all the money in the cash register. She followed his orders and put the money in his gym bag but she was still fatally shot.
Police said Simmons managed to hit the alarm after she was shot, causing the store's doors to shut automatically. Her killer dropped his bag filled with the money as he escaped.
The teen suspect was set to have a hearing Monday morning but neither a parent nor a guardian showed up. A new date was set for later in the month.
Attorney Remeko Edwards is not involved in the case.
“Generally, a child can’t be released from detention unless there is a parent there. And from what I’m hearing the mother was not available this morning. So the hearing had to be postponed in case the child was released home the parent had to be available,” Edwards said. “The judge has to look at factors to determine whether or not the child can be released back into the custody of the parent.”
The attorney says the judge will have to factor in the juvenile’s criminal history, if the child is likely to run away and if there is adequate supervision at home.
“And those factors help make a determination of whether or not the child should be released home to the parent,” Edwards said.
It’s a case where the district attorney may seek to certify the 15-year-old as an adult.
“It’s a process,” Edwards said. “It goes before a board in which they review the same facts as in the detention hearing — the supervision in the home. There will be assessments done on the child: psychological, psychiatric. Those assessments will be reviewed.”
The assessments will be considered alongside the facts of Simmons’ murder and the fact that the teen suspect had been handled before by police at least once for family violence.
“If you have a person that’s been in the system and they have a history the police, you know they have knowledge of them,” Edwards said. “Because this is not their first run in with them, then you have a circumstance.”
It’s a circumstance that might make getting out of detention and overcoming any argument to certify as an adult hard for the troubled teen’s attorney.
“We have, unfortunately, a life that was taken,” Edwards said. “And we have a child that did It.”
The suspect remains in detention at the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center.
Simmons, 27, leaves behind a fiancé and six children ranging in age from 6 months to 11 years old. Her funeral will be held on Friday in McCombs, Mississippi.