Teen faces charges in shooting

Police say severity of case warrants review by court

Posted: Sunday, December 14, 2008

The 15-year-old boy who police say accidentally killed Aidan Neary, 14, and wounded a second 14-year-old in a Mendenhall Valley shooting Wednesday is facing manslaughter and assault charges.

The state Division of Juvenile Justice has held the boy at the Johnson Youth Center since a court hearing Thursday when he was arraigned.

"From what I understand, he's pretty traumatized," said Joe Adelmeyer, chief probation officer for the division's Southeast region.

The felony charges each carry potential fines up to $250,000 and 20 years in prison, though the boy, whom Adelmeyer identified as Kevin Michaud, won't face hard time as long as he's in the juvenile justice system. That system doesn't mete out punishment in the traditional sense, but deals with treatment and remediation programs.

The "worst case scenario" for minors in the juvenile justice system, Adelmeyer said, is to be ordered to a two-year lock-up in a juvenile treatment facility. The least restrictive avenue at the other end of the spectrum is to be released on juvenile probation.

Michaud does not have a previous criminal record or any past dealings with the juvenile justice system, Adelmeyer said. News archives show he had made the honor roll at Floyd Dryden Middle School at least twice.

"Usually, if kids don't have a history, we look at the least restrictive things," Adelmeyer said.

The incident occurred Wednesday afternoon at Michaud's home. Police said he and four other teenage boys, all freshmen at Juneau-Douglas High School, took guns from a locked cabinet and played a game with them when Michaud accidentally fired. The single bullet fatally wounded Neary in the abdomen and continued on to wound a second boy.

The second boy was flown to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was listed in satisfactory condition Friday afternoon.

The two other boys were not detained or charged.

The decision to formally file charges against Michaud was made by the department and district attorney's office, said Juneau Police Department spokesman Sgt. David Campbell.

"The severity of the incident itself warrants having the case reviewed by a neutral court," Campbell said. "I think that one of the problems with the newspaper and blogosphere: They don't really have or understand the whole story. The mechanism we have in place is to go through the court system. Given the fact that someone lost their life, it is appropriate to go down that avenue."

District Attorney Douglas Gardner referred comment about the case to the Division of Juvenile Justice. The division's recommendations largely drive the process.

Gardner declined to comment on the potential, or lack thereof, for criminal liability with Michaud's parents.

"The investigation is still ongoing. ... I'm not going to comment one way or the other," Gardner said.

Michaud is due back in court Jan. 11, Adelmeyer said. All juvenile proceedings are closed.

A message left late Friday afternoon at the Michaud home was not returned by press time.

• Contact reporter Jeremy Hsieh at jeremy.hsieh@juneauempire.com.

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