CANTON, Ohio — A Canton teenager has entered the juvenile equivalent of a not guilty plea to an aggravated murder charge, after being accused of shooting and killing a 14-year-old girl.
The body of Sylvia McGee was found in an alley on Bieyl Court in Canton on March 30. She had been shot in the head.
Authorities believe the McGee and her alleged killer were acquaintances but thus far have not revealed a likely motive.
The 13-year-old defendant appeared before Juvenile Judge Rosemarie Hall, who ordered him held in juvenile detention for the protection of the community, for his own protection and because he is considered a flight risk.
She also ordered all media, including FOX 8, not to use the teenager’s full name to protect his rights, explaining that in spite of the seriousness of the charge the defendant cannot be tried as an adult because of his age.
Relatives of both the defendant and the victim were also in court Wednesday.
Following the hearing, the victim’s great-aunt Carlina Hanley called the crime “evil” and “calculated.” She also described seeing the defendant in court as “difficult.”
“I think, probably, the hardest part was when the young man walked out — the look he gave. It wasn’t a look, in my opinion, of remorse. I don’t know, that was most hurtful. I at least want to know that he feels bad about what happened. I want to know that he’s remorseful, you know, I did not see that. It was like an extra kick in the teeth,” said Hanley.
A gag order prevents prosecutors and defense attorneys from discussing details of the case.
Relatives also avoided discussing specifics, but Hanley told reporters following the hearing that she believes the victim was lured to the location where she was killed in a calculated act that involved more than one individual.
“I believe she was ambushed, she was set up, she was lured. You know, Sylvia would not be out that time of night. You know, she was very close to me, her grandmother, her step-grandmother, my sister, Renee. She just wouldn’t — we stayed on her too much,” said Hanley.
Canton Police on Wednesday also declined comment, referring questions to the prosecutor’s office. At this point it is unknown if additional arrests are even possible.
The defendant’s family left the courthouse declining FOX 8’s request to speak about the teenager.
“I pray for him. I pray for my family. I don’t wish any harm on him or anyone’s child but someone has to be held accountable and if he was part of it he needs to be held accountable,” said Hanley, acknowledging that the hearing was also difficult for the suspect’s mother, who sat next to him at the defense table.
Hanley also said “It is hard because nobody wants that for their child, so we all hurt. We all lose. She is going to lose her son for a period of time. We lose my niece forever and that’s the cost of picking up a gun.”