Prosecutor recommends teens in Harrison Township home invasion be charged as adults

Prosecutor seeks adult charges for Harrison Township teens

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office has recommended that the two teens who broke into a Harrison Township home last week be charged as adults.

The break-in happened in the 10000 block of Carolina Trace Road on the morning of Oct. 26. Two William Henry Harrison High School students were wearing ski masks when they forced their way into the home of the Niehaus family. When the homeowner, 64-year-old David Niehaus confronted them, the suspects physically restrained him and demanded valuables.

According to an email from the Juvenile Division Office of Joseph Deters obtained by FOX19 NOW, the prosecutors in the case decided to seek transfer of the jurisdiction to the adult criminal court. Notice of that decision was filed with the juvenile court Monday afternoon.

This comes in response to more than 100 emails and letters from the Harrison community to the prosecutor's office. One Harrison resident says this case is concerning to their community and these teens need to be charged as adults.

"For a crime...assault, break-in, those sorts of things to happen in our neighborhood, we're not going to stand for it. Charging these teenagers as juveniles is not a deterrent to illegal behavior or bad behavior. Unless a clear and strong message is sent, then this behavior will not only continue, it will escalate," said Jessica Brown, a Harrison resident.

Now that the request has been filed, the juvenile court has to decide if the transfer will actually happen.

According to the prosecutor's office, the juvenile court has to find that probable cause shows that the two teens committed the crime and decide whether or not rehabilitation in the juvenile court system is sufficient considering their crime.

The Chief Prosecuting Attorney, Kevin Hardman, said the prosecutor's office will argue that the seriousness of the crime and the harm caused to the victim's family override any factors that would keep the teens in juvenile court.

If the judge decides not to move the case to adult court, the prosecutors will seek a heavier sentence within the juvenile court.

The Niehaus family fears that, if the teens are released, their crime will seem like a badge of honor and will create more violence in the area.

[RELATED: "We will never be the same again": Homeowners speak out after Harrison Township home invasion]

So far, the 16-year-old Harrison High School students have denied the charges and are asking for a trial. They are currently being held in the Hamilton County juvenile detention center as they await their next court date.

The suspects' attorneys claim they were both model students.

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