By Keith Gushard
Timothy Bolden faces multiple charges in Crawford County Court, including aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, but the question is whether he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
That will be up to Judge John Spataro to decide as a hearing continues today on whether to certify Bolden, 16, as an adult and move his case to Crawford County Court of Common Pleas, or have it heard in Crawford County Juvenile Court.
Bolden is one of two Meadville teenagers charged by Meadville Police with the beating a 34-year-old Meadville man in the city early on New Year’s Day. The victim in the alleged 3 a.m. attack outside the CVS pharmacy on North Street sustained multiple facial fractures that have required surgery.
At Tuesday’s two-hour hearing for Bolden, a video from an external security camera at CVS was played showing a man being dragged to the ground and savagely beaten.
Bolden is charged by Meadville Police with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, two counts of simple assault, recklessly endangering and two counts of harassment for his alleged role in the attack.
The second teen, Tyler Adams, 15, was declared delinquent of aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment by Judge Spataro following a juvenile court hearing last week. Adams now faces potential penalties of fines, court costs, and house arrest or placement in a juvenile detention facility when he is sentenced by Judge Spataro sometime within the next 30 days.
At the start of the hearing, Wes Rowden, Bolden’s defense attorney, stipulated to the court that Bolden was seen in the video and there was enough evidence to establish charges against Bolden, but that Bolden was not admitting guilt.
Steven Reilly, a psychologist who was among those testifying for the defense, said he interviewed Bolden and found the teen can be rehabilitated through the juvenile system rather than face trial as an adult even though Bolden had previous felonies as a juvenile. The finding was based on Bolden’s intelligence and academic standing, according to Reilly.
“He took ownership of the offenses,” Reilly testified about the interview. “He knew it was a serious matter. He was under supervision (for prior juvenile offenses) and was breaking curfew at the time.”
Reilly testified Bolden does have problems with anger, but that Bolden also exhibited an acceptance of blame and remorse about the incident.
Under cross-examination by Craig Howe, the assistant district attorney handling the case, Reilly said he had only met with Bolden one time for a two-hour period.
Under further questioning by Howe, Reilly testified Bolden’s prognosis for successful rehabilitation only was “guarded” without significant intervention.
Asked by Howe if the juvenile court system was the only place to get significant intervention, Reilly said, “No, there is the adult (court) system.”
Asked if he would concur that the juvenile justice system wasn’t working for Bolden because of his repeated offenses, Reilly said he wouldn’t because Bolden had not been in any “long-term structured program” as a juvenile offender.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.