Officer: Teen boys plotted to shoot girl over texts

This undated photo provided by Lauren Anderson shows Deserae Turner, a Utah teenager who was shot in the head and left in a ditch. Residents of a small town in northern Utah are struggling to comprehend why two teenage boys plotted to rob and kill, Turner, 14, before shooting her in the head and leaving her critically wounded in a ditch, according to prosecutors. (Lauren Anderson via AP)

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Two teenage boys accused of shooting a girl in the head in small-town Utah concocted the plan while playing video games and discussing their desire to “get rid” of the girl who was texting one of them, authorities testified Tuesday.

Cache County sheriff’s Deputy Brian Groves took the stand to detail his interviews with the 16-year-old accused of pulling the trigger, The Deseret News reported.

Tuesday evening, a juvenile court judge ruled that there’s enough evidence for the boy to stand trial.

The teen and another 16-year-old boy are charged with attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice in the attack on Deserae Turner, 14. She survived, but her family says she has been battling for her life.

Groves said the teen who shot Deserae grabbed a gun from underneath his brother’s mattress and lured her to an isolated spot behind a high school.

She was found Feb. 17 in a dry canal in the small town of Smithfield, a bedroom community around Logan, where the hearing started Tuesday. A hearing for the other boy begins Thursday.

The Associated Press is not naming the boys because they are juveniles. Prosecutors said they will seek to have them charged as adults. Another hearing is scheduled for May 8 to determine if the boy accused of shooting the girl will be tried as an adult, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Investigators said they identified the teens after learning of text messages Deserae sent to a friend saying, “I’m getting picked on.”

Groves said the teen who fired the shot told the deputy that a week before the shooting, the boys met Deserae at a canal, where they had intended to slit the girl’s throat but didn’t go through with it.

The next time they all met, the boys brought the gun. The boy who opened fire said that without his friend there, he would not have had the courage to shoot Deserae, Groves testified.

The boys then broke her cellphone and iPod and took $55 they found in her backpack, police said.

Groves said that when he asked the boy why they took the money, the teen said, “greed.”


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