Court: Teen charged in officer’s death can be tried as adult

NEWPORT, Ark. (AP) – A teenager charged in the 2017 killing of an Arkansas police officer can be tried as an adult, the state Court of Appeals ruled.

Derrick Heard was 16 when he was charged as an adult with capital murder for the shooting death of Newport Lt. Patrick Weatherford.

Heard’s attorney, Ronald Davis Jr., sought to move the case to juvenile court, but a lower court rejected that move. The Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld that decision Wednesday, noting that the charges against Heard are of the “utmost seriousness” and resulted in the death of a police officer, The Jonesboro Sun reported.

Weatherford was shot while investigating a vehicle break-in at Newport, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock, authorities said.

Heard, who is now 18, has previously pleaded not guilty. Wednesday’s decision clears the way for a trial date to be set.

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