A 15-year-old boy will not be tried as an adult in the murder of a man at a Dallas Area Rapid Transit station in November.
The teen was 14 when he and three other boys, ranging in age from 12 to 14, were charged with capital murder in the slaying of Octavius Lanier at DART's MLK station.
Prosecutors told the judge the 15-year-old was with 9 young people who spent the day at NorthPark Center committing theft and behaving in threatening ways on the DART train.
Prosecutors said the 15-year-old and three others picked Lanier as their target on the train, got off the train before him, cornered him and beat him in an attempt to steal his iPod.
Lanier, 19, was knocked off the platform into the train as it was leaving the station. He was dragged 30 feet and ultimately crushed between the train and the platform. Lanier later died at a Dallas hospital.
Detective John Palmer told the judge the 15-year-old was the most physical and most culpable in the slaying. "I believe the only reason [he] stopped beating the victim, is the train dragged him away," Palmer said.
The judge watched a video from the surveillance camera at the DART station, which was played out of the view of reporters.
Judge Sheryl Lee Shannon said the crime was clearly horrendous but based on the law she was going to leave the case to the juvenile justice system.
If the now 15-year-old had been tried as an adult and convicted, he would have been too young to be put to death, but could have faced up to life in prison. If convicted of capital murder as a juvenile, he faces a maximum 40 years in prison and would be eligible for parole in three years.
Prosecutors said they were not happy with the judge's decision because the punishment would not be severe enough for the crime.
Both the family of the victim and the suspect were in court and shed tears during testimony.
Lanier's family said after the hearing they were disappointed in the outcome but would have to abide by the judge's decision.
The 15-year-old's family expressed relief that their son would not be tried as an adult.
No word yet on court dates for the other three boys charged with capital murder.