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Judge Rules In January DART iPod Train Death

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been almost three months since a south Dallas teen was shoved in front of a DART train killed, apparently for his iPod.

All of the victim’s accused attackers were juveniles, and Friday one of them appeared at a hearing to see if he should be tried as an adult.

Prosecutors wanted the youngster certified as an adult because the range of punishments can be harsher in adult court. But the judge said “no” after a morning filled with sometimes graphic testimony.

There was surveillance video from DART that was shown only to Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon.

“There’s the victim walking through,” said Prosecutor Rita Yeakley, as she had Dallas homicide detective John Palmer describe how the boy and three others circled, then swarmed Octaivius Lanier.

The detective said the boy then pushed Lanier to his death. “What’s he doing now?” Yeakley asked. “He’s skipping away,” Palmer responded.

Yeakley then asked the detective, “Is there anything about that skipping that bothers you?” Palmer answered, “I think that skipping is evidence of psychopathy.”

Judge Shannon called the episode “horrendous”, but said the boy’s age and other factors needed to be weighed.

“Considering all factors the court at this time declines the petition for transfer [to adult court],” she ruled.

The mother and friends of the accused boy left the courtroom relieved. “I feel great. I feel good,” said Sandra Gage. “I know he’s happy, he’s happy. From the first day this went on I just put it in God’s hands.”

Octaivius Lanier’s mother’s reaction was short and terse.

“I don’t have a comment today. The judge made the ruling,” said Takesha Harper. “Whatever she [Judge Shannon] says goes, so we’re with that. So, we’re done.”

The boy’s case now goes to a grand jury. His attorney thinks prosecutors will ask for what’s known as a “determinate” sentence — where he could receive up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

“If they don’t do that [determinate sentence] then it’s just your typical juvenile case,” said attorney George Ashford, “where the most he could get is confinement until his 19th birthday. So that’s what they’re going to try to do at this point.”

So far none of the accused killers in the case have been certified to stand trial as an adult.

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