Ninja suspect remains in custody, eligible for day passes home

May 21, 2010

A 16-year-old River Hills boy accused of dressing like a ninja and attacking another youth will remain at a secure shelter until his next appearance in Milwaukee County Children's Court in mid-June. But he is eligible for day passes that will allow him some home visits before his next court appearance.

The boy has been held since April 27, charged with felony substantial battery for an alleged assault with a machete on a 14-year-old Bayside boy in the woods behind Nicolet High School. Twenty stitches were required to close the wound over the right eye of the younger boy.

He was one of four Nicolet students, who, after hearing that two girls had seen a boy dressed as a ninja in the woods the previous day, went to see if they could find him after school ended. The boy was attacked when he was briefly separated from his companions. The attack took place on private property abutting the Nicolet woods.

At the time of the suspect's last court hearing on May 6, Judge Frederick Rosa said he would consider releasing the boy to his parent's custody pending the results of a psychological evaluation, done during the last two weeks.

Rosa, who received the evaluation at today's court hearing, said he wanted time to read it before deciding on how to proceed.

Attorney Robert Peterson asked the judge to release the suspect to his parents, again emphasizing the fact he has never been in trouble with the law and that, if released, he would not be a danger to himself or anyone else.

"These are serious charges but they are charges," Peterson said. "There is a presumption of innocence here."

Assistant District Attorney Donald Jackson asked the judge to keep the boy in a secure shelter, saying the serious nature of the injury indicates continued placement there.

The fathers of both the victim and suspect addressed the court. The suspect's father asked for his release, saying he follows the rules at home and was working for a neighbor clearing brush at the time of the assault.

The father of the victim said he recognizes how difficult it is for the parents and their son to be separated and left it to the court to decide placement.

Rosa said he is concerned about the seriousness of the offense and ordered the River Hills boy to remain at the shelter. He will permit some day passes for the boy so that he can visit home.

The judge set restrictions for the passes. While on a pass, the boy will not be allowed any contact with the victim, can only leave his home under the supervision of one of his parents and may not have any weapons.

At the time the boy was taken into custody, police seized the machete, a bow and arrow and sword.

His next court hearing is at 8:45 a.m. June 15.

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