12 YEAR OLD BOY TRIED AND CONVICTED TO 30 YEARS IN AN ADULT COURT – From Paul Gingerich’s appearance you wouldn’t think he was different from any other 12 year old schoolboy. But while other boy’s Paul’s age are happily playing with their friends Paul is locked up in a State Penitentiary for the capital crime of murder.
In late 2010, at the tender age of just 12 years old, Paul Gingerich, from Enchanted Hills, Indiana, was convicted of his part in the shooting of his best friend’s stepfather and received a sentence of 30 years imprisonment.
In April 2010 his friend, and older boy, Colt Lundy, along with another 12 year old, Chase Williams, had all planed to run away from home. As the plan was hatched out it was Colt Lundy who told his friends that his stepfather, Philip Danner, would never allow him to run away and that the only solution was to kill him.
During that fateful night Lundy handed his friend Paul a loaded gun and the pair entered the house through an open window. Inside, and oblivious to what was going on in the house, Danner was going about his business while the two boys sat in the living room waiting for Danner to enter.
William Chase, on learning of the two boys plans to kill Philip Danner, refused to go along with the plan or accompany Colt and Paul inside the house – he elected to remain outside.
In Paul’s original confession to the police he told investigating officers how Danner entered the room and Colt shot him from a range of just a few feet. According to Paul he then ‘freaked out’ and closed his eyes, turned around and also discharged his firearm.
Paul later made a further statement that he thought the whole thing was a joke and that Colt wasn’t serious about killing his stepfather.
The crime of premeditated murder can never be acceptable or justified in society but what did surprise many was the fact that Paul was tired as an adult.
Under state law the Indiana State Attorney’s Office is able to apply that a juvenile is tried as an adult however it is rare that any such request is made; regardless of its provision. On this particular case the Judge decided that both Paul Gingerich and Colt Lundy should be tried as adult.
After Paul’s conviction his lawyers successfully appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeal who then threw out Paul’s guilty plea and sentence, and remarked that the Juvenile Court judge, at the time, rush his decision to allow the case to be tried in an adult court. The appellate court has now ordered a new hearing in which it will be decided if Paul should retried in a juvenile court.
Paul’s lawyers, while pleased that Paul’s case is being reconsidered could well be playing with fire. If the court does decide to retry Paul as an adult the sentence could be far more severe with up to a maximum prison sentence of up to 65 years.
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