Judge: 15-year-old must stay in Texas custody as she awaits trial in boyfriend's killing




  • In US
  • 2022-08-18 20:43:09Z
  • By Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 

A judge ordered a 15-year-old girl on Wednesday afternoon to remain in the Lynn W. Ross Juvenile Detention Center in Fort Worth as she awaits her trial in the October shooting death of her boyfriend.

During a detention hearing, Associate Judge Cynthia Terry issued the ruling because she wants to see if medications are working on the teen, who was placed in a behavioral hospital last month and then returned to the juvenile facility.

The girl's attorney asked Terry for the girl to be taken back to the hospital or released to her family, but the judge denied that request., according to the teen's grandmother. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is not identifying the teen because she is a minor.

The ruling on Wednesday came as judges in Tarrant County juvenile courts have been under fire after an audit of the county's juvenile justice system revealed they rarely hold hearings, which has contributed to dramatic overcrowding in the detention center.

The 15-year-old girl has been detained since November 2021, and her trial is scheduled for November of this year.

The 21-page audit uncovered wide-ranging problems at nearly every level, including violations of Texas law in how some youths are housed, and how two associate judges who handle juvenile cases cancel or postpone most of their scheduled hearings. One earned the nickname "ghost" court among employees.

The audit identified Judge Alex Kim, who is the 323rd District Court judge and oversees the juvenile detention center. The two associate judges are Terry and Andy Porter.

Kim has been the judge in a majority of the 15-year-old girl's detention hearings, but on Wednesday afternoon, he was making a presentation before the Juvenile Board, defending his court.

Girl was victim of sexual assault before shooting

The 15-year-old girl faces three charges related to her boyfriend's death and doctors had recommended last month she needed partial hospitalization as she remained in custody, according to her family.

The girl has been charged with delinquent conduct/murder, delinquent conduct/burglary of a habitation, and delinquent conduct/home invasion. She spent eight days at the Perimeter Behavioral Hospital in Arlington in late July after she attempted suicide twice and was assaulted by another juvenile, leaving her unconscious., her grandmother said.

Family members said she was charged with murder after her boyfriend was shot to death in October at a Saginaw home. She did not fire the weapon that killed Adxel Melgar Caceres, 20, of Fort Worth, but she rode with him to the scene, her grandparents said.

Two young men from Saginaw, one of whom is accused of shooting Melgar Caceres, also face murder charges in his death.

In a February hearing, Kim ordered the girl detained because he said she's accused of "setting up" the situation that got Melgar Caceres killed.

The girl was 14 when she met the two young men from Saginaw - who are brothers - and had sex with at least one of them, which was videotaped, her grandmother said.

One of the Saginaw brothers told detectives that the 14-year-old was his former girlfriend, according to a search warrant obtained this week by the Star-Telegram.

Before the shooting, the 14-year-old had been dating Melgar Caceres, who heard what the Saginaw boys did and became upset, her grandmother said. "He went over to that home with the intent of fighting them," the grandmother said.

The teenage girl is accused of texting a friend of one of the brothers, telling her that people were coming to the brothers' Saginaw home with weapons and asking the friend to leave the front door open, according to the search warrant. Other messages also told that friend to go to the bathroom because, "sum (expletive) finna go down," the warrant stated.

On Oct. 26, 2021, the girl, Melgar Caceres, and a 15-year-old friend of his drove to Saginaw to confront the brothers, the grandmother has told the Star-Telegram.

The grandmother said the girl stayed in the pickup truck as Melgar Caceres and his 15-year-old friend went to the house in the 600 block of Oak Hollow Lane. Within minutes, shots were fired inside the home and the girl and Melgar Caceres' friend ran away from the scene.

Saginaw police said they initially responded to the home on a report that the incident was a burglary. A man who lives at the residence told 911 dispatchers that someone had forced his way inside, and that he shot the intruder, according to police. Upon arriving at the home, police said, they found Melgar Caceres dead from multiple gunshot wounds. His body was lying inside the entry way of the home.

Saginaw police said that others involved fled the area and that they believed the incident was "isolated and targeted."

But police later said they believed that the case was not a burglary and arrested the two brothers.

Police identified the brothers as Daniel Higuita Baquero, 20, and Jony Higuita Baquero, 17, who were charged in December 2021 with murder in Melgar Caceres' death, as well as with delivery of drugs.

Daniel Higuita Baquero told Saginaw detectives that he and his brother got weapons to protect themselves and hid in the home once they got the messages from his former 14-year-old girlfriend, according to the warrant. They left the front door open but the screen door closed, he told police.

Daniel Higuita Baquero said a man wearing a mask - later identified as Melgar Caceres - came into the house, but he closed the door to Melgar Caceres' friend.

Jony Higuita Baquero told police that he tried to shoot at Melgar Caceres but his weapon did not fire, and Melgar Carceres fired two or three rounds at him, according to the warrant. Daniel Higuita Baquero then shot Melgar Carceres, his brother told police.

Jony Higuita Baquero was taken to a hospital, where a projectile was removed from his elbow, the warrant states.

Daniel Higuita Baquero told police that after the shooting, he received a text from the 14-year-old girl, asking if he was dead. The girl also sent messages saying that "they made her do it," she didn't want to do it, and she wanted to walk into the Saginaw home and stop it all, according to the warrant.

Daniel Higuita Baquero admitted to police that he had sex with the then 14-year-old at his Saginaw home on Oct. 24, 2021, and recorded it, the warrant stated.

He and his brother have been charged with sexual assault of a child, according to Tarrant County criminal court records.

The girl told police that Jony Higuita Baquero had sent her messages threatening to shoot up her home, according to the warrant.

The now 15-year-old's grandfather said the girl is suffering from a mental disorder.

"The best resolution is for her is to be possibly confined to a mental health facility," her grandfather said. "And released eventually back to her family."

Her grandmother agrees.

"This is not a safe environment for her," her grandmother said, referring to the Tarrant County juvenile facility. "She is decompensating."

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