A juvenile charged with fatally punching a teen at a party can go home while his case is pending, but he has to wear an electronic ankle bracelet, a judge ruled Thursday in Clinton County.
The 17-year-old, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter, has to stay in his home and is not allowed to have visitors other than adult relatives, approved counselors or in-home teachers. The juvenile also is prohibited from accessing social media and using electronic communication devices. He can use his mother’s cell phone, if necessary, but only under adult supervision.
The juvenile was taken into custody the morning of April 23, shortly after the death of Jacob J. Arter, an 18-year-old football player who was a month away from graduation. The suspect had been held at a juvenile detention center since being taken into custody.
Associate Judge Ericka Sanders approved the juvenile’s release during a hearing Thursday. She ruled that the juvenile has to be under the supervision of his mother, his father or another court-approved adult relative while he’s under house arrest.
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Nearly a dozen of the juvenile’s family members attended the hearing. The juvenile’s attorney, C.J. Baricevic of Belleville, said the outcome is what the family was hoping for.
“We are very appreciative of the result,” Baricevic said.
We are very appreciative of the result.
C.J. Baricevic, attorney for juvenile
Several members of the Arter family, including Jacob Arter’s parents, attended the hearing Thursday. They did not attend last week’s hearing because it coincided with the boy’s funeral.
When the judge announced her decision, some members of the Arter family sighed or gasped quietly. Some cried.
Arter died after he was the victim of a battery at a clubhouse in rural Clinton County, according to the sheriff’s department. One witness account indicates Arter was punched in the head only once, Detective Scott Voss has said. Others said the teen struck Arter multiple times after he fell to the ground.
The juvenile will only be allowed to leave his home for court or medical appointments approved by his probation officer. No visitors, other than adult relatives, will be allowed in the home.
The boy nodded as the judge explained the conditions, and he replied, “Yes, your honor.”
The only exception to the visitor rule is if an approved counselor or homebound teacher visits.
Arter arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese at 1:35 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 2:24 a.m., according to the coroner.
Sanders, the judge, ordered last week that the juvenile remain in custody until a probation officer could review his home situation. The boy’s mother told the court last week she could supervise him at home.
David Rands, an appellate prosecutor, was appointed to serve as the special prosecutor in the case at the request of Clinton County State’s Attorney John Hudspeth, who has said he is a relative of the juvenile’s family.
Rands did not object to the juvenile being released under house arrest.
The juvenile’s next hearing is set for June 1.
The prosecution has not sought to have the case moved to adult court. If convicted in juvenile court, a juvenile can be sentenced to a term of incarceration up to his 21st birthday.
The judge has ordered that the juvenile’s identity not be released.