OLATHE, Kan. — Five of six teenagers charged with first-degree murder made their first court appearances in front of a Johnson County, Kansas, judge Monday.
Johnson County prosecutors filed motions to request all four 14-year-olds be tried as adults. The two remaining teens are 13, and Kansas state law does not allow for them to be tried as adults.
All five teens who appeared in court Monday pleaded not guilty either with their attorneys or via a judge. The sixth teen’s hearing was originally set for Monday but rescheduled for later this month.
FOX4 is not naming any of the teenagers accused of killing Cardino because they are minors.
Thomas Bath Jr., the attorney for a 14-year-old girl involved in the alleged crime, spoke during the hearing.
“The shooting took place on May 14. Later that day, (the girl) provided a statement explaining what she knew, identified individuals, frankly, identified individuals that police were not aware of,” Bath Jr. said Monday. “(The girl) was not really in custody, but she was allowed to go home that day.”
Three days later Bath Jr. said his client was arrested. He said his client was there to buy drugs, something young people unfortunately do on a regular basis. He said the purchase of marijuana cannot be prosecuted for felony murder.
“There were two drug dealers who showed up to sell these juveniles the drugs. One was an adult, and one was a juvenile,” he continued.
Bath Jr. said at least one of the drug dealers was armed, and the older drug dealer had been firing a weapon outside his car and was posting it on Snapchat before the incident.
“I think there’s evidence to suggest now that the two drug dealers who showed up to sell the marijuana to the juveniles had the intent to rob the juveniles,” he said. “There’s information in the police report about that, and I’m just telling you that, and if that’s true, then there’s no felony murder by anyone.”
Bath Jr. asked for his client to be released on house arrest. The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office disagreed, and the judge denied Bath Jr.’s request.
The mother of one another teen charged also told FOX4 the drug deal gone wrong isn’t the full story.
She said Cardino was selling drugs to the minors, and the 19-year-old pulled out a gun first in an attempt to rob the 13- and 14-year-olds.
But a friend of Cardino’s family said he was a good man, but ended up with the wrong crowd.
All of the attorneys, including Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, would not comment outside the courtroom.
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