Tarrant County

Teen Accused of Shooting Fellow Lamar HS Student Appears in Court

It has yet to be determined whether the teen will be tried as an adult or remain in the juvenile system

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The 15-year-old accused in the murder of a Lamar High School student appeared in court on Friday.

A Tarrant County judge has officially set a date of June 14 to finally determine whether the teen will be tried as an adult for capital murder or remain in the juvenile system.

Police say the teen – who is not being named due to his age – shot and killed 16-year-old Ja’Shawn Poirier with a shotgun outside Lamar High School in Arlington before class on March 20. The shooter was also charged with aggravated assault because a teen girl was hit with shrapnel.

On Friday, lawyers and the judge discussed a psychological evaluation that was conducted on the teen. Those results led to a request for a psychiatric evaluation.

Judge Alex Kim also went over some minor infractions and behavioral issues happening in custody, which could impact the outcome of his case.

“You have to understand, I'm watching everything. Given the nature of this case and how serious it is, even the minor things might get magnified in your situation. You definitely have my attention,” the judge told the teen in court on Friday.

Only his great aunt has been attending the mandatory hearings that happen every 10 days. His mother is in Louisiana and his father is incarcerated for a federal weapons charge.

The teen's lawyers say if he's tried as an adult, he could face life in prison with parole.

"Or if he goes through juvenile court, he faces a maximum of 40 years in prison,” said Lisa Herrick, the teen's defense attorney.

In that case, he could be released earlier if the courts believe he is rehabilitated.

"The punishment availability here in the juvenile court, a lot of the time the focus is on how we want to treat these kids and rehabilitate these kids. That's a goal of the juvenile justice system,” Herrick explained. “But when it becomes necessary, there is a mechanism for genuine punishment. And that's written into the law."

His lawyers added they know the motive behind the shooting but have not shared those details.

Meantime, Poirier's family celebrated what would have been his 17th birthday just days ago, gathering outside of Lamar HS to remember his life.

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