CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Teens charged as adults in West Valley shooting death

Mar 22, 2023, 12:12 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

As reported by KSL.com, four teenagers have been charged as adults in the death of a 15-year-old ea...

Four teens have been charged as adults in a shooting death (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — As reported by KSL.com, four teenagers have been charged as adults in the death of a 15-year-old earlier this month.

15-year-old Francisco Jesus Cuena was found dead in a crashed car in West Valley on March 3.

KSL.com reports teenagers Bryan Alvarez, Kimberly Alvarez,  Anthony Alexander Hernandez and Xavior Lunt are each getting charged as adults in the shooting death of Cuena.
 
KSL legal analyst Greg Skordas joined Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
 
Caplan asked, “Is this unusual to charge all four minors as adults with a crime like this?”
 
In short, Skordas says yes.
 
“But it depends on what the facts are of the case,” Skordas said. “And as I’m reading over the probable cause statement, it looks like all four were allegedly, by the allegations that the district attorney is making here, quite actively involved.”
 
The suspects in the case are 16- and 17-years-old. Skordas says under Utah law, a district attorney is allowed to charge them as adults, even though 18 years of age is considered to be adulthood.
 
Caplan asked, “Is there any chance that this litany of charges they’ll face is simply designed to set up plea deals?”
 
“Oh, yes,” Skordas said. “I would assume that’s exactly what is going to happen here.”
 
“So, Greg, what’s next for these four?” Caplan asked.
 
Skordas says they will be held in a juvenile facility for now since they were just barely charged. And once their cases go to court, Skordas says a judge will decide where to hold them while their cases are in court. He says that is done in a juvenile setting.
 
Since two of the suspects are already 17 and will be 18 later this year, Skordas thinks it’s possible that at least two of the suspects will be moved to an adult setting. 
 
Mark Jones contributed to this article.

Related:  Teen found dead inside vehicle in West Valley City is identified

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Teens charged as adults in West Valley shooting death