A rarely-used Ohio law for violent juvenile offenders could reportedly lead to a 54-day jail sentence for a teenager convicted in the beating death of another teen.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that 18-year-old Lance Tiernan — convicted in the beating death of Anthony Parker, a fellow resident at the One Way Farm teen group home last year — could be freed from jail before he learns his final sentence in the crime.
A Butler County Common Pleas judge set Tiernan’s release date as Oct. 13. Tiernan’s attorney, prosecutors and Judge Patricia Oney will determine on Monday if that date will stick or Tiernan can be released on a recognizance bond until at least Oct. 22. A juvenile judge has scheduled a hearing on that date to determine whether Tiernan will be sentenced as a juvenile or face an adult sentence.
Tiernan was 17 when he attacked Parker, 16, and threw him headfirst on the floor on Dec. 19. Parker died nine days later after he was removed from life support, the newspaper reports.
At the center of the case is Ohio’s Serious Youthful Offender Law, which grants a juvenile judge discretion whether to send Tiernan’s case to adult court, had he initially been charged with the less-serious offense of involuntary manslaughter.
If that had happened, the newspaper reports, the judge would have been required to hold an "amenability hearing" to decide whether Tiernan’s case could stay in juvenile court. But prosecutors went after the teen on a murder charge, an offense that doesn’t warrant such a hearing before being sent to adult court.
As a result, Tiernan, who was convicted by a jury of a lower-level felony of involuntary manslaughter, is looking at a possible blended sentence combining a juvenile disposition with an adult sentence.
Oney sentenced Tiernan to 54 days in jail and five years of probation. The judge later stayed the adult sentence, meaning Tiernan wouldn’t start serving the 54 days until Juvenile Judge Ronald Craft decides to sentence him or send the case back to Oney to enforce the adult sentence.