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Willard teen may be tried as adult

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:48 PM

A Willard teenager may be tried as an adult for a series of Plymouth and Willard burglaries and thefts.

Kevin Czupik, of 39 Washington St., was 17 when he reportedly committed the Dec. 8 and 17 offenses, but turned 18 on Dec. 31. There is a July 9 Huron County Juvenile Court preliminary hearing in which Judge Timothy Cardwell will determine the likelihood the crimes had been committed.

"The prosecutor has filed a motion to have him bound over (to common pleas court) to have him tried as an adult," Court Administrator Chris Mushett said. The state filed the motion June 14.

The hearing when Cardwell might rule if Czupik's case will be heard in Huron County Common Pleas Court is "a couple months off," he said. It's possible the defendant could waive the hearing and his case would be transferred.

"If he chooses to do that, we'd have to go through the rest of the process," Mushett added.

In order for juvenile defendants to be tried as adults, three conditions must be met at first: The suspect must be over the age of 14, there is evidence the person committed the crime and the defendant has not been "amenable" to the juvenile court system.

An example of the latter, Huron County Juvenile Prosecutor Dina Shenker said, would be if the defendant failed to follow community control sanctions, such as community service, various counseling or didn't take GED classes. She further explained that the goal of juvenile court is to "help the child, not punish the child ... (and) make juveniles productive members of society."

"I don't know what specifically (Czupik) hadn't done," Shenker said. "He has a lengthy juvenile record."

She said a juvenile's case can be transferred to common pleas court "as early as 14 if they meet certain qualifications."

The Ohio Revised Code indicates a juvenile could be tried as an adult depending on the relationship with the victim, if the suspect was on probation or had a firearm during the offense or if the victim suffered "serious economic," physical or psychological harm, among other situations. Shenker said there also are a list of conditions the judge must hear to argue why the case should remain in juvenile court.

Czupik is serving a 190-day sentence at the Huron County Jail for one charge each of breaking and entering, theft and two probation violations, a jail spokeswoman said. He is scheduled to be released Oct. 1.

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