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Watertown teen wants murder case moved to juvenile court

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SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Attorneys for a Watertown teenager charged in a fatal shooting in Sioux Falls want his case moved to juvenile court.

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Judge Bradley Zell said Friday he would give the matter "careful consideration" before issuing a written ruling at a later date in the case of 18-year-old Trevor Kruthoff.

Kruthoff was 17 when he was charged with murder in adult court in the Dec. 2, 2013, shooting death of Jordan LeBeau, 20, and the wounding of LeBeau's 48-year-old father. Authorities said the shooting resulted from a botched robbery attempt tied to drug dealing, and several other people also face charges in the case.

Kruthoff's parents said in court Thursday — the first day of a two-day hearing — that their son is a good kid who was hanging out with the wrong group of friends.

"We tried what we could," Melissa Kruthoff said. "We talked to teachers. If he didn't do something he was supposed to do, we took his phone away or took his car away. They were the things any parents would do."

Forensic psychologist Mark Freado testified that Trevor Kruthoff came from a loving home, with parents who tried to discipline him.

"This could be anybody's kid," he said. "There but for the grace of God, it could be any of us."

Kruthoff is accused of firing the shot that killed Jordan LeBeau. Prosecutors said his age at the time doesn't diminish the severity of the alleged crime, and that the juvenile justice system is not equipped to handle a case involving a crime as serious as murder.

If Kruthoff is convicted in juvenile court he could be held only until his 21st birthday. If he's convicted in adult court, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

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