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Judge: Teen accused in stabbing outside Civic Center will be tried as adult

Kimori Shaw

Kimori Shaw

A judge has ruled a Butte teenager accused of stabbing another male teen several times outside the Butte Civic Center will be tried as an adult for attempted deliberate homicide.

District Judge Robert Whelan says 17-year-old Kimori Alejah Arnold Shaw already has a “significant history” in Youth Court for crimes so a request by his attorney to have the attempted homicide charge transferred there is denied.

Shaw is accused of stabbing the other teen during a fight in the Civic Center parking lot on the afternoon of July 17, a Saturday, as several others watched. The victim was stabbed several times, witnesses said, and was rushed to the hospital in the bed of a friend’s pickup.

Adults convicted of attempted homicide in Montana face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 100 years or life. In a recent order, Whelan denied a request by defense attorney Jessica Polan to have the case handled in Youth Court.

“The record reflects that despite multiple attempts at continuation of the defendant in his family home, he continued to violate laws,” Whelan wrote in his ruling.

Youth Probation then placed Shaw at the Discovery House, but after rules violations he was transferred back to a juvenile detention center in Great Falls, the judge said. Then he was placed in a nine-month program at Normative Services Inc. that ended in February 2020.

“Given the nature of the crime, the defendant’s history of offenses and failed rehabilitation attempts, the Court concludes that the interests of community protection would not be served by transferring this case to Youth Court,” Whelan wrote.

He also said attempted deliberate homicide was a serious charge, and if convicted in Youth Court, there were insufficient sentencing options “to adequately address rehabilitation and appropriate punishment.” He said Shaw will turn 18 in eight months.

“If the defendant is convicted of the serious offense charged, given his age and the obvious failure of the previous Youth Court directives to alter the defendant’s behavior, it is clear that the interests of the defendant would be better served by the broad array of sentencing options available to the District Court for both rehabilitation and punishment,” the ruling said.

According to prosecutors, a friend of the victim told police Shaw had previously beaten up one of their other friends so the victim was going to the Civic Center to fight Shaw “one on one.” Others showed up to watch.

At least three witnesses told police that after the fight started, Shaw started stabbing the victim. One person said that started after the victim took Shaw to the ground. Another said as the two exchanged punches, someone in the crowd tossed in a knife and Shaw grabbed it and started stabbing.

That witness said the victim was stabbed several times and kept fighting, according to a charging document. At some point he was stabbed in the stomach, headed toward a friend’s pickup, got in the truck bed and was taken to St. James Healthcare.

Whelan held a hearing on the transfer request on Nov. 9. Shaw appeared via Zoom from the Cascade County Regional Youth Services Center, where he has been held since his arrest.

The court heard testimony from police Detective Ray Vaughn, a youth probation officer, a licensed clinical professional counselor and a clinical psychologist.

Whelan has set the next hearing for Jan. 19 and a trial for Feb. 15, though trial dates in cases involving serious crimes are often moved back several times.

Shaw remains at the detention center in Great Falls because even though he’s being prosecuted as an adult, he is considered a minor until he turns 18. The Butte jail only houses adults.

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