Judge closes hearing for 9-year-old accused of murder

Southwest Michigan

CENTREVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — The dad of the youngest child ever charged with murder in Michigan brought a McDonald’s Happy Meal to court on Friday.

It was for his 9-year-old adopted son, who had a hearing in St. Joseph County Circuit Court to determine if he’s competent to stand trial on a charge that he murdered his adoptive mom.

Family Division Judge David Tomlinson closed the hearing to the public, leaving the boy’s family, except his dad, waiting in the hallway.

After the hearing, the boy’s attorney, T.J. Reed, said the judge did not rule on competency.

Instead, the boy will continue to get treatment at an unspecified mental health facility, at least until the next review hearing in two months.

The boy is accused of shooting his adoptive mom, Pauline Randol, at the family’s home near Sturgis on May 6.

He at first suggested that hunters shot her; then he told police his dad shot her. Police reports show the dad was at work at the time.

The boy is charged with open murder and a felony weapons charge.

Under state law, he is presumed incompetent to stand trial for any crime because he’s under 10 years old. But records show prosecutors want him treated with the goal of making him competent.

The burden is on the prosecutor to prove he’s competent.

In a court document, the judge wrote that while juvenile proceedings are normally open to the public, hearings involving competency can, under state law, be confidential.

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