Wednesday, November 07, 2001

Boy who killed sister sent to Tristate facility for now

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An 11-year-old Northside boy convicted of stomping his little sister to death learned Tuesday that he must put aside any possibility of having a normal childhood.

        Because of 8-year-old Takeya Bryant's chilling death, the boy is now facing years of incarceration, foster-care homes and uncertainty as to when he'll be fully reunited with his family.

        “How do you feel?” Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Sylvia Hendon asked the boy, whose hands and feet were shackled.

        “Sad and mad,” he said, his left leg beginning to fidget.

        Judge Hendon sentenced him to an indefinite stay at Hillcrest Training School, a juvenile detention facility in Springfield Township.

        He must obey the facility's rules and actively participate in its therapy, counseling and education programs or risk being transferred to a more structured state Department of Youth Services facility when he turns 12.

        He could remain incarcerated, perhaps hours away from his family, until he turns 21. The Enquirer is not naming him because of his age.

        The judge said the boy's inability to conform and know right from wrong concerns her.

        “He's like a small animal who has been raised in the wild, who responds to his gut instincts. He acts out very easily. He hasn't had much authority in his life. That's why I'm scared to death about” where to place him, said the judge, before turning to the boy.

        “Maybe for the first time in your life, someone's going to be telling you when to get up, when to go to school,” she said. “You're going to have choices to make. You're going to have to make the right choices. If you don't, on your 12th birthday you'll be going up to Columbus or Toledo.

        “Take control of yourself because the next 10 years depend on it,” Judge Hendon said.

        The boy is thought to be the youngest person in Hamilton County history to go through a juvenile murder trial. He stomped and beat to death his sister in the family's apartment Aug. 15. Their 13-year-old cousin was baby-sitting. He allegedly beat and raped Takeya, and faces juvenile murder and rape charges.

        The boy's mother, African Evans, pleaded for her son Tuesday, tears trickling down her face. She was working at Children's Hospital Medical Center when Takeya died. She and her son's attorney, David Montgomery, have maintained that Takeya's death resulted from roughhousing gone too far.

        “He had no intentions of hurting his sister,” she said. “She was not a perfect child. They played like that, but he had no intention of hurting his sister. He loved his sisters.”

        But Judge Hendon said it wasn't acceptable for Ms. Evans to have the 13-year-old baby-sit for her four children in the one-bedroom Georgia Avenue apartment.

        “These children were clearly moving in an inappropriate setting. It was too small,” she said. “That's why what happened happened.”

        The 11-year-old could be a Hillcrest resident for up to two years if he cooperates with the program. Home visits could become possible in a few months, the judge said.

        If he graduates from Hillcrest's program, he most likely will be placed in a foster-care residence, she said.

        A competency ruling for the 13-year-old is set for December.


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