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14-year-old Macon boy charged with murder as an adult

According to the Prosecuting Attorney's Council, the District Attorney has the option on whether to prosecute a minor in the adult system or in juvenile court
Credit: Raymond Tubb

MACON, Ga. — Correction: We incorrectly reported that 14-year-old Shamar Smith shot and killed the victim in this case. The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office says they do not believe he was the shooter.

A Macon 14-year-old is now facing a felony murder charge as an adult.

In the state of Georgia, a minor can be charged and convicted of a crime as an adult. Pete Skandalakis, the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorney's Council of Georgia, says in cases like this, the District Attorney's office will consider the age of the suspect and the crime he's accused of.

According to the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, 14-year-old Shamar Smith was arrested Monday at the Bowden Homes apartment complex and is charged as an adult.

He faces a felony murder charge after deputies say he was involved in the killing of 18-year-old Marquavious Wright. 

According to Skandalakis, the District Attorney has the option on whether to prosecute a young suspect in the adult system or in the juvenile court. 

If prosecuted as an adult, "that juvenile has to be 13 years of age or over or he has to commit a certain crime," Skandalakis said. 

That rule only applies to certain serious crime--the so-called "Seven deadly sins," which include murder. 

"The DA can, prior to indictment, transfer that case back to juvenile court if the DA believes that's the proper step to take," Skandalakis said. 

Skandalakis says a prosecutor considers the nature of the crime, what led to it and other factors.

"Let's take an example that it was gang related. That he or she did this at the urging of an adult," Skandalakis said. 

The sheriff's office says as far as they know, Smith is not connected to a gang. 

Skandalakis says prosecutors also evaluate if the minor was competent to commit a crime and stand trial and whether they have a criminal history.

"In other words, had he or she been in juvenile court? And had they been subject to rehabilitation? If they had, that's a factor that you weigh in if the juvenile court was unable to get that juvenile's attention," Skandalakis said.

Bibb County Sheriff's Office says they wouldn't release additional information because it's an ongoing investigation and involves a juvenile.