Local News

New Carlisle Boy To Be Tried as Adult for Heinous Crimes

(South Bend, IN) - A boy accused of unspeakable crimes in New Carlisle will now stand trial as a man.


Last March, 6-year-old Grace Ross was found molested and strangled to death behind her apartment building.


After multiple preliminary hearings, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office has announced that 15-year-old Anthony Hutchens will be charged as an adult in the crimes.


Court documents released Friday afternoon shed light on the proceedings that have unfolded over the past month to determine the boy's path along the criminal justice system.


Hutchens faces two counts of murder—that is, for killing the same person in two different ways— in addition to a charge of child molesting.


Hutchens’ mother and defense attorneys had asked for leniency, citing his Autism Spectrum Disorder and lack of criminal history as mitigating factors. They sought to keep him in the juvenile system for proper rehabilitation.


Neither their pleas nor the testimony of two psychologists could persuade St. Joseph County Probate Court Magistrate Graham Polando, who placed responsibility squarely on the 15-year-old’s shoulders.


The Court found that Hutchens, despite the lack of a father-figure and financial hardships, “squandered the opportunities presented by his home life.” The boy’s mother, court documents went on to say, “was appropriately attentive to his medical needs. And since the beginning of this case, she has attended nearly every proceeding in person, has participated by phone in a few others, and has effectively and earnestly advocated for him. And the Respondent similarly appears to have had appropriate support from his siblings.” One of Hutchens’ teachers also reported that the boy was uncooperative in school.


Ultimately, it was the severity of the crimes that warranted a trial for Hutchens in adult court. Polando labeled them “the most heinous acts one human being can do to another.”


Hutchens has been moved from the Juvenile Justice Center to the St. Joseph County Jail. Charges against him will be filed in Superior Court. If convicted on all counts, Hutchens could be sentenced to up to 81 years in prison.


Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Grace’s murder.

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