There are updates about a Cleveland police officer shot and killed in the line of duty on September 3, 2020. The officer killed was Det. James Skernivitz. He was 53 years old and a 25 year veteran of the Cleveland Police Department.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office stated that the cause of death was a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead around 10:30 that Thursday night.
According to information from the police department, the shooting occurred around 10:00 p.m. near Storer Avenue and West 65th Street. Another man was shot and killed at the same time. He has been identified as 50-year-old Scott Dingess.
Three Individuals Arrested and Charged
An 18-year-old man and two juveniles were arrested and charged in the shooting of Det. Skernivitz. Prosecutors charged the 18-year-old in Cleveland Municipal Court. David McDaniel, Jr. is charged with two counts of aggravated murder.
The 15-year-old male was arrested by the NICE Unit of the Cleveland Police Department and U.S. Marshals at a gas station at West 28th Street and Broadview Avenue. McDaniel and the 17-year-old boy were arrested a few days later.
Investigators had arrested three people in connection with the shooting. According to a statement from the Cleveland police, those three individuals will not be charged in the shooting.
It appears that the fatal shooting took place as part of a robbery attempt. According to law enforcement sources, Det. Skernivitz and the other victim were sitting in an unmarked car behind an abandoned strip mall. The detective was investigating drug dealing in the area as an uncover officer.
Allegedly, the three individuals walked up to the car and began shooting. The day before the shooting, Det. Skernivitz had been sworn in to work with the Northern Ohio Violent Crimes Task Force. He would have been working with Operation Legend, an initiative to fight crime in Cleveland and other cities.
Minors Charged as Adults in Ohio
In some cases, a minor could be charged as an adult. The case could be transferred from juvenile court to adult court. Some charges must be transferred to adult court if the minor is 16 or 17 years old.
The judge has the discretion to transfer a minor to adult court if the child is at least 14 years of age and charged with a felony. Offenses that are generally considered for transfer to adult court are sexual offenses, murder, drug offenses, and breaking and entering.
There are mandatory grounds to transfer a minor to adult court. If the minor is 16 or 17 years of age and commits a Category 1 serious crime, the case is transferred to adult court. Category 1 serious offenses include aggravated murder, murder, and attempted murder.
It is also mandatory to transfer a minor to adult court for a Category 2 offense if the minor is 16 or 17 years of age. Category 2 offenses include aggravated robbery, manslaughter, aggravated arson, rape, and aggravated burglary. The minor must have had a firearm under his control during the commission of the crime, or have a prior charge for a category 1 or 2 offense for the mandatory transfer to apply.
Helping Your Child if Your Child Is Arrested
If your child is arrested, contact a juvenile crimes defense attorney immediately. Older teenagers could face adult court, which means the penalties could be much more severe than the penalties in juvenile court. An attorney can work to keep the case in juvenile court if possible.
Also, an attorney can ensure that your child’s rights are not violated. Even though your child is a minor, he or she has legal rights. Before you allow your child to answer questions or make a statement, you need to talk with a lawyer.
Some crimes may seem minor, so parents may try to work with the police and prosecutors to resolve the matter. A parent may be able to negotiate a plea deal with little to no time in jail. However, that is not the end of the matter.
If your child has a criminal record, that record could follow your child for the rest of his or her life. It could impact whether your child qualifies for scholarships for college and the career choices your child has when he or she graduates high school. A lawyer might be able to help your child prevent a criminal record, depending on the circumstances and facts in your child’s case.