CANTON — A 13-year-old boy charged in the fatal shooting of Sylvia McGee, 14, might face time in adult prison.
During Isiah Lynch’s appearance Tuesday in Stark County Family Court, Judge Rosemarie Hall noted the juvenile division of the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a notice of intent to seek “serious youthful offender” designation in the case.
If convicted, Lynch could receive a blended sentence: a combination of time in youth prison followed by a potential term in adult prison.
The next step would be for a grand jury to review the case and decide whether to indict the teen of aggravated murder. Hall ultimately would decide whether Lynch would be tried as a serious youthful offender, if he’s indicted in the death of McGee. Under that scenario, Lynch would have the right to a jury trial.
State law prevents a 13-year-old from being transferred to common pleas court and tried as an adult. The aggravated murder charge qualifies as a potential serious youthful offender case because of its seriousness.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Lynch maintained his plea of not true — the juvenile court equivalent of not guilty — to aggravated murder. He also is charged with obstructing justice. Several relatives and supporters of the defendant and of McGee attended the hearing.
Lynch is accused of shooting McGee in the head March 30 on Bieyl Court Southwest between 10th and 11th streets. A man walking his dog found her body about 4 a.m.
During the hearing, Hall reviewed the defendant’s rights and explained how a serious youthful offender case would proceed through the juvenile court system.
Also discussed was the sharing of evidence between the prosecution and defense. Michelle Cordova, who heads the juvenile division of the prosecutor’s office, noted during the hearing that additional search warrants have been issued.
Under the designation of serious youthful offender, Lynch would be tried as a juvenile and could be sentenced to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (youth prison) up to age 21 followed by a suspended term in adult prison (the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction). Lynch’s conduct in the Department of Youth Services would be an influencing factor in any imposition of adult prison time.
A status conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m July 15. Hall said the conference will be held in chambers with attorneys, without the defendant present, explaining the purpose will be “just to keep things moving” and to gauge progress in the case.
The judge also said the defendant will continue to be held at the Stark County Juvenile Attention Center.