Teen’s case heads to Supreme Court

Oral arguments will be heard Thursday on appeal of attempted battery conviction

The Indiana Supreme Court is scheduled to receive oral arguments Thursday in a case involving a Jackson County teen convicted of attempted aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery in 2016.

The convictions stem from an incident in late 2015 in which the then 15-year-old youth was accused of threatening to shoot another student he saw as a love rival.

The arguments in the case center around an appeal of the teen’s conviction on the two charges in Jackson Superior Court II in 2016.

Jackson Superior Court II Judge Bruce MacTavish found the student guilty of attempted aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. Additional charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit possession of a firearm and attempted dangerous possession of a firearm were dismissed.

The teen was placed on probation and participates in an online education program. He no longer attends Seymour High School.

The Indiana Court of Appeals later reversed the conviction of attempted aggravated battery but affirmed the conspiracy to commit aggravated battery charge.

Both the defendant and State of Indiana later filed a motion to transfer the case to the Indiana Supreme Court following the appeals court’s decision.

The state plans to argue both charges should be affirmed. The defense will argue for them to be reversed, said the teen’s North Vernon attorney, Mark Dove. R. Patrick McGrath of Madison serves as co-counsel and will present the oral argument Thursday.

The investigation that led to the teen’s convictions revolved around his Facebook correspondence that revealed a plot to harm another student through a school shooting during their senior year, which would have been this year.

During the investigation, a note also was found by police that described the teen’s thoughts about 20 other students.

Through Facebook correspondence with another classmate, the teen admitted to being so angered by the presence of the other student that he physically beat his dog and also viewed the target of the proposed plot as a potential love rival, according to police.

According to Facebook messages submitted as evidence during the trial, the potential target of the plot had not taken action to provoke the anger toward him and was unaware of the teen’s feelings.

The oral arguments to be presented at 9 a.m. Thursday are open to the public via webcast. To view it, visit in.gov/judiciary/supreme/2455.htm.

On the Web

Oral arguments in the case of B.T.E. v. State of Indiana will be presented at 9 a.m. Thursday.

It is open to the public via webcast. To view it, visit in.gov/judiciary/supreme/2455.htm.

Author photo
Jordan Richart is a correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.