OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT 6 News) - An attorney for murder suspect Jarrell Milton told a judge during the boy's first court appearance Friday afternoon that the 12-year-old wasn't hiding out in Minneapolis, but was on a previously planned family trip for the 4th of July weekend.
Wearing a blue jumpsuit, Nike sneakers and sitting next to his mother, Milton listened as the prosecution called Milton a documented member of the Nike Gang and requested a full psychiatric evaluation.
The defense asked that Milton be allowed to stay at his mother's home with electronic monitoring rather than at the Douglas County Youth Center, but the judge ordered Milton to be held at the youth center in secure placement for now.
The judge said that if convicted, Milton wouldn't go to prison, but to a facility such as Boys Town or a rehab center in Kearney and remain under the court's jurisdiction until age 19.
When asked if he had any questions, Milton responded, "No, sir." A preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 21st.
In court Prosecutors said Jarrell and his brother are documented gang members in the "Nike Street Gang."
Two men that identified as Jarrell's cousins appeared in court wearing Nike apparel. They denied knowing anything about the gang or Jarrell's involvement.
WOWT 6 News caught up with Jarrell's mother out of the courtroom. She did not make any comment when asked questions, referring WOWT to her and Jarrell's lawyer. Her lawyer too said "No Comment."
WOWT 6 News also spoke with a couple who said they were neighbors to the boys and knew them well.
"It was really shocking and a surprise to see this happen. I mean especially the two youngest that we knew really well Shantayvious and Jarrel. They really are just kids and even Shantayvious that age 15 is just really going into high school and all of those things that come with it and so yeah it was just really really shocking and sad to see," he said.
Prosecutors told WOWT 6 News they worry the 12-year-old's involvement shows that gangs recruiting younger and younger members.
"The real concern is that they may be doing that in order to have those younger persons do the dirty work of the older people, knowing that the consequences for the younger children are going to be less significant; for example, juvenile court," said Deputy Douglas County Attorney Jim Mastellar.
The Omaha boy was taken into custody Tuesday night in Minneapolis and brought back to Omaha Thursday afternoon. He is one of three suspects facing charges in the June 29th shooting death of 31-year-old Jamymell Ray.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Metro Fugitive Task Force in Omaha received information that Jarrell was in Minnesota. With the help of U.S. Marshals in Minneapolis, task force members conducted surveillance at several residences and identified Jarrell walking outside and took him into custody without incident at 11:30 p.m.
"Trying to develop information is difficult and in this situation we had a lot of community support, we received tips to help lead us to where he was and that was very beneficial," said U.S. Marshal Supervisory Deputy Chris White.
Jarrell's brother, 17-year-old Jamar Milton, and 15-year-old Shuntayvious Primes-WIllis were arrested earlier in the week and appeared in Douglas County Court Tuesday afternoon.
Police have not said how the 12-year-old got to Minnesota or if anyone will face charges in helping him get there. The boy was located by the U.S. Marshals Office and Minnesota's Fugitive Task Force. Jarrell was brought back to Omaha to face first-degree murder charges.
WOWT 6 News has learned that Jarrell's mother, Iyannia Moss, was convicted for felony assault when Jarrell was a toddler. According to court documents, at the time Moss had seven minor children. While she was in prison, all of her children lived in an Omaha foster home. The children's father, 37-year-old Javaris Milton, is serving a 30-year prison sentence in Minnesota for a 2010 murder.
Prosecutors with the Douglas County Attorney's Office tell WOWT 6 News that the boys scheduled a meeting with Ray and his friend, 30-year-old Charles Fisher, for a drug deal in Miller Park near North 24th Street and Redick Avenue.
Both Ray and FIsher were hit by gunfire. Ray died from his injuries while Fisher was treated and released from the hospital.
Investigators believe the boys may have been involved with a gang. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer told WOWT 6 News that the boys' possible gang association was concerning. "It's hard to intervene as a law enforcement agency when somebody is that young. You miss an opportunity for intervention when they're that young."
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said all three suspects had weapons. "It's incomprehensible. It's unbelievable when you think of somebody who's 12 years old, seventh-grade or sixth-grade, and being charged with murder for having a gun, approaching somebody and using that firearm with two other people that also had firearms. All of it's even impossible to imagine that it's even a possibility."
"Our intentions are to file on them as adults," Kleine said. "There's a question in regards to the 12-year-old under the new law, whether we can proceed in adult court, so we'll get him into custody and then make that determination."