HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The cases against two teenagers accused of killing a man after running away from a juvenile facility will go before a grand jury, and the judge will also consider youthful offender status.
18-year-old Jakobe Carter and 17-year-old Arron Jones are charged with capital murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree burglary in Limestone County.
"I'm praying for the families, and I'm sorry for their loss, and I'm going to continue to pray," said Carter as he walked into the courthouse Thursday. He kept repeating those words heading in and out of a Limestone County courtroom.
Carter and Jones are charged with capital murder in the death of 61-year-old Van Johnson, a construction worker at the time contracting through Publix.
"I'm sorry for their loss. And I'm innocent," Jones said.
The two teens ran away from the Three Spring Juvenile Facility and are accused of going on a burglary spree in the Madison area, ending with a fatal robbery.
"So many lives have been wasted," said Samuel Kiscer, one of the victims family members. "I lost a brother, and to see kids that would do something like this is very disturbing and unsettling and so it was very difficult."
Samuel and his wife, Marcia, are related to the victim. They said Johnson had a kind and giving heart.
"How kind he was, how giving he was, how funny he was, how boisterous he was. Even people who knew him for a short time, I don't know how he managed to maintain relationships with everyone. And we thought it was just us and special, but it is how he treated everybody," Kiscer said. "It's hard to believe that he is gone. It's just not real. I still expect to hear him or see him or spend time with him, but it's just not possible."
The district attorney told them not to worry and that he'll do what he's supposed to do for their cousin.
"Sorry for their loss and I'll continue to pray," Carter said once again as he left the courthouse.
"I hope they are not playing with it, you know, but we are Christians and prayers work and if that's what they believe and that's what they have to say, good for them," Kiscer said.
If the suspects are gr anted youthful offender status, the teens would not face the death penalty, shorter length of a possible sentence and a sealed case. WAFF 48 News will let you know what the judge decides as we follow this case.
Many have expressed concerns about the Three Springs facility and whether or not it's safe having it in Madison. Mayor Paul Finley said that right now, his office is working with the facility to make sure that the residents there stay where they're supposed to.
He also said they're going to work to add an amendment to the business license ordinance that would allow them to revoke business licenses if one becomes a nuisance. They're also going to request a formal investigation by DHR and DYS of the facility.
And finally, they're holding an advisory council meeting next with the facility.
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