16-year-old to be tried as an adult
The Nevada County District Attorney’s Office has decided to prosecute a 16-year-old attempted-murder suspect as an adult. The county’s chief prosecutor said it was one of the only decisions of its kind in recent decades.
If convicted of the crimes, Michael C. Jacob would serve the same sentence as he would if he were tried in juvenile court, but he could spend his sentence in prison.
Prosecutors are also reserving the right to change their minds and try him as a juvenile if they think it is appropriate.
Jacob is accused of repeatedly stabbing his friend in the neck and chest after a night of partying early Jan. 16. The friend survived the alleged attack.
“We have no evidence right now that it shouldn’t be handled this way,” Nevada County District Attorney Michael Ferguson said of treating Jacob as an adult.
Jacob pleaded innocent Jan. 27 to charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Both charges also carry special circumstances of inflicting great bodily injury and using a knife in an attack.
If convicted of these charges, he will face a prison term of somewhere between five and 13 years in prison. While the maximum sentences for a charge of attempted murder is nine years, Ferguson said the special circumstances may add up to another four years.
Because of California’s Proposition 21, which was passed in March 2000, Ferguson had the right to immediately file the criminal case against Jacob in adult court.
Previously, a juvenile defendant had to go through a series of mental fitness tests for prosecutors to determine if he or she should be tried as an adult. The proposition also allows prosecutors the chance to change their minds later.
“If somebody else convinces us the case should be handled differently, we will consider it,” Ferguson said. “We’ll listen to their argument.”
Since the early 1980s, Ferguson said, he remembers only one instance of a juvenile being tried as an adult in Nevada County, and that was in a murder case.
Jacob is currently being held at the Nevada County juvenile hall. Since reportedly making several incriminating statements during his arrest, he has stopped talking with sheriff’s investigators.
Ferguson also said that the district attorney’s office’s investigators have not interviewed the suspect.
The stabbing was reported Jan. 16 at 3 a.m. at 108 Lark St. in Penn Valley. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Penn Valley Mobile Home Park, where they found 18-year-old Kannan Sartain bleeding from his neck and chest. He was treated at Sutter Roseville Medical center and has since been released.
Sartain’s grandmother, a resident of the home, told investigators that Sartain and Jacob had attended several parties that night. After they returned to her home, she said she heard what she thought was an argument. She said she kicked in the door to the room they were in, and she saw her grandson bleeding.
After interviewing Sartain in the hospital, sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Powell said the victim was sleeping when he awoke to find Jacob stabbing him.
“I think Sartain is telling the truth,” Powell said. “We don’t think there’s a motive – we can’t find one.”
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