Clarksville accused teen killers to be tried as adults
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
Three teenagers accused of beating a man at a Clarksville laundromat in May, who later died, face both murder and aggravated robbery charges. A Montgomery County grand jury approved the charges, and prosecutors will try the teens who were 13 and 14 at the time of the crime as adults.
Teddy Cook let three teens into his laundromat to buy a soda from his vending machine, and police believe that they started beating the man to get his money shortly thereafter. The shocking surveillance video has left many in Clarksville shaking their heads that such young children could commit such a violent crime. Cook died less than two weeks later at the hospital.
FOX 17 News spoke with several Clarksville natives who decried the crime committed by younger and younger people.
"As brutal as it looks, I don't think they went in there with the intention of killing him," said Rick De La Garza, who did not feel as if prosecutors should try the boys as adults. "Kids live in a fake world when they play these games, and when it comes time to the real thing, it doesn't affect them."
De La Garza's neighbor Paqueshia Baxter was hesitant to blame parents when children lose their way. "It's like a learned behavior, sometimes peer pressure with who they're hanging around with. With who they keep company with, so I can't say this emanates from the home," Baxter said.
The boys are behind bars with a $250,000 bail. At least two of them were students at Kenwood Middle School. The school's assistant principal identified Harrison Elijah Smith and Tavares Lee Harbison. Jevon Brodie's mother turned him in.
"They made an adult decision, and there are adult consequences to that decision," said Olga Vandergriff, who like Baxter and De La Garza, has children of her own. "I am very surprised by their actions."
Smith, Harbison and Brodie are due in court on November 5.