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Petitioners push prosecutor to try teens as adults in Lee’s Summit fatal stabbing

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two teenagers held in the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center are both charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 43-year-old Tanya Chamberlain. Thousands of petitioners are calling for the 13-year-old and 14-year-old to be tried as adults via an online effort and letters sent to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker.

Court records show that at 1:14 on the morning of November 1, Chamberlain was at the Quick Clean car wash on Langsford Road. At 1:51am, two people believed to be the teens approached Chamberlain, then six minutes later all three get into her car.

The surveillance camera cuts off a couple of minutes later because of daylight saving time.

At 2:12 am, a Lee's Summit police officer suspecting a drunk driver tried to pull over Chamberlain's car, two people bailed out and ran, and the officer found Chamberlain in the passenger seat, stabbed to death.

Jana Cox has written a letter to the prosecutor and is one of the people behind an online petition to have the boys prosecuted as adults, saying this was a heinous crime and if these boys did it, they deserve to be locked up for life.

"We are seeing more and more crime with juveniles, and it seems the juveniles are getting younger and the crimes are becoming more violent, and I just think that we as a community should make the courts more aware that we are tired of it," Cox told FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien.

Close to 3,000 have signed the petition.

"I was quite shocked when I looked today and saw there was over 2,700 signatures on the petition and we had received word on Sunday night that there had been over 2,000 emails sent to the prosecutor,” Cox said.

Police say the teenagers are in the eighth grade at Bernard Campbell Middle School in Lee's Summit.

Court records show police recovered clothing matching that in the surveillance video from the boys' homes, but a search of their school lockers turned up no evidence. One of the teens has a prior criminal record, but the other does not.

Whether they will be charged as adults will depend upon the juvenile court’s decision. Because of the level of this crime, there will be a mandatory certification hearing.