Ensley mass shooting suspects denied youthful offender status

Ensley mass shooting suspects denied youthful offender status

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L-R: Rashad Stoves, Artavius Underwood, Reginald Mims. Source: Birmingham Police Department L-R: Rashad Stoves, Artavius Underwood, Reginald Mims. Source: Birmingham Police Department
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The three teenaged suspects accused of shooting and killin five men in Ensley appeared in court today for a youthful offender status hearing.

Attorneys for Rashad Stoves, Artavius Underwood and Reginald Mims argued that because they were all under the age of 21 at the time of the crime their alleged to have committed, they have a right to be considered as juveniles.

But in the end Jefferson County Circuit Judge Stephen Wallace denied the motion so the three young men will be tried as adults.

However, the issue of whether the three young men should be tried at all on the indictments of capital murder continues to be an issue.

Defense attorneys argue the indictments should be dismissed because Alabama's current capital murder statute is unconstitutional when it comes to juveniles. They point to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says it's a violation of a juvenile's 8th Amendment rights to be subjected to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of a capital murder.

That motion was denied by Judge Wallace. The attorneys for Rashad Stoves appealed that decision to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and they too denied their petition.

"We're disappointed in the response because we don't feel they wrote to the issues we raise," Wendell Sheffield, Stoves' attorney, said. "It appears we're at a disagreement and the reason we filed a write of mandamus to the Alabama Supreme Court."

Sheffield says it's unknown whether the Alabama Supreme Court will even entertain their matter. However, if they don't he says they'll continue to press forward, going to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

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