A judge said Friday there is enough evidence to prosecute a teenager accused of shooting eight people after a Thunder playoff game.
But before Associate District Judge Richard W. Kirby can send Avery Eugene Myers to trial he must decide whether the youth will be tried as an adult.
Myers, 16, of Oklahoma City, is charged as a youthful offender with eight counts of shooting with intent to kill. The shootings took place after a May 21 game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Prosecutors want Myers tried as an adult. If convicted as an adult, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
If convicted as a youthful offender, Myers could be held in a juvenile treatment facility only until five months after his 18th birthday. However, he also could be ordered to prison if he fails to complete a treatment plan.
Defense attorneys, who claim Myers acted in self-defense because he felt threatened, want him certified as a juvenile. If convicted as a juvenile, Myers would be released on his 19th birthday, regardless of whether he completes a treatment plan.
The judge will decide in October whether to certify Myers as an adult, youthful offender or a juvenile.
All but one of the victims took the stand during the preliminary hearing for Myers, which concluded Friday in Oklahoma County juvenile court.
Five of the victims identified Myers as the shooter.
The eighth victim did not complete her testimony Friday, as expected. Deawana Jones was ordered to appear by the judge after she failed to show up for court on Thursday.
Jones took the stand earlier this month but was uncooperative and walked off, saying “I don't want to do this.”
Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Chance did not call Jones to testify.
“I think she would be a complete waste of time,” Chance said.
Defense attorney Bob Mildfelt disagreed, calling Jones “the most crucial witness in this case.”
Mildfelt argued for the opportunity to cross-examine Jones, but Kirby determined he had enough evidence against Myers and wouldn't consider the girl's prior testimony.
According to witness testimony, a group of girls confronted Myers, his female cousin and three males because they had jumped Jones and taken her cellphone earlier in the evening.
Several witnesses testified that Myers yelled for them to get back before lifting up his shirt, pulling a gun from his waistband and firing into the group from close range.
A witness testified Thursday the group of girls circled around Myers in an aggressive manner and threatened to hurt his cousin, who tangled with Jones earlier.
Also on Friday, prosecutors added an alternative charge of assault and battery with a deadly weapon to their case against Myers.