Juveniles to be tried as adults for stabbing, gun offenses

A 15-year-old from Norwich who is charged with stabbing three people at the Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods Resort Casino last month and a 17-year-old from New London arrested in August on firearm and drug charges will be tried as adults in New London Superior Court.

Miguel Negron, 15, of 11 Terrace Ave., Norwich, who is accused of using a butterfly knife to stab three people at the Tanger Outlets on Oct. 20, was released on house arrest after he appeared Wednesday before Judge Hillary B. Strackbein. The judge ordered him to be monitored electronically and told him he's required to stay home except for court appearances and drug testing appointments until further notice.

"This isn't juvenile court anymore," the judge told Negron. "This is adult court. You really need to follow the rules."

Adonis Smith, 17, of 320 Colman St., New London, remained incarcerated after appearing before Strackbein on charges of carrying a pistol without a permit and distributing a controlled substance. New London police said that in August, they seized from him almost 15 grams of marijuana, 2.6 grams of crack cocaine and a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

In a motion to transfer the case to adult court, Senior Assistant State's Attorney Lonnie Braxton II wrote that the best interests of Smith and the public would not be served by keeping the case in juvenile court. Braxton wrote that in the past three years, Smith has exhausted and/or rejected the services of the juvenile court, having been placed on probation twice and on parole once for a serious juvenile offense.

Following his arrest, Smith had been placed in an unlocked juvenile facility in Litchfield. He had somebody pick him up and remained at large for weeks, until he was located on Sept. 20 and taken into custody.

Judge Strackbein appointed attorney Matthew G. Berger to represent Smith, entered a not guilty plea and continued the case to Dec. 11.

Negron, arrested the day of the mall stabbing incident by Mashantucket police, also had appeared initially in juvenile court in Waterford, where a judge ordered him held at a juvenile detention center. His case was automatically transferred to adult court due to the seriousness of the charges: three counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, carrying a dangerous weapon, attempted first-degree assault and breach of peace. He faces decades in prison if convicted and given the maximum sentence.

During his appearance Wednesday in adult court, Negron stood between his mother, Tonya Lopez, and his attorney, Kevin C. Barrs from the public defender's office. Barrs said he was asking the judge to consider house arrest based on a video of the incident.

"It appears there is a very viable self-defense claim even though there were significant injuries," Barrs said.

Police recovered videos of the incident, including one taken by an employee who filmed it as she stood outside the Kate Spade store on the second floor of the Tanger mall. According to a report, the video shows shoppers running for cover as two groups start to fight. During the incident, Negron takes out a knife and stabs three of the four people from the other group, who fight back and kick him in the face several times as they flee. 

One victim, 20-year-old Scott Whipple of Mashantucket, was stabbed in his back and right side and was treated for a "sucking chest wound" that required a drain tube to be inserted into his chest cavity, according to the police report. He has since been released from the hospital.

The other victims, 18-year-old Sakye Reels-Felder of Mashantucket and 18-year-old Devin Rickerson of Ledyard, both were treated and released from the William W. Backus Hospital.

It appeared the members of the two groups knew each other from previous incidents. Negron told police he was at the mall with his 17-year-old brother and two girls. He said his group was going down an escalator when they saw the four males in the other group going up the escalator. He said his brother got "mouthy" with the others, who came down the escalator and confronted them.

Negron was treated for facial injuries and a hand laceration, according to the court documents.

k.florin@theday.com

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