12-year-old admits to role in killing

WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) – The 12-year-old boy charged with Assisting a Criminal in thekilling of a Cromwell man admitted to the allegations against himin juvenile court Wednesday.

“One of the considerations was the strength of the evidence.That’s one of the things we talked about,” the boy’s lawyer, ChrisKehler, said. “Also finality and resolving this quickly is the bestthing for [the boy].”

Police said the boy knew two of his friends were planning tokill Phillip Danner, 49, and he helped. In court on April 22,police said on April 20, the boy stood outside Danner’s home whileColt Lundy, 15, and Paul Gingerich, 12, were inside and shotDanner. The boy then saw Danner’s body on the floor and went home,police testimony said. The three boys then snuck out and starteddriving to Arizona. Lundy is Danner’s stepson. Police said Lundysaid he had to kill Danner before they could run away to Arizona tosell T-shirts to “drug people.”

Prosecutors originally charged the 12-year-old with Aiding andCausing a Murder, but changed the charge on Monday to Assisting aCriminal. Because the criminal in this case is accused ofcommitting murder, that makes the boy’s charge a Class CFelony.

Changing the charge also means the boy will stay in juvenilecourt. Lundy and Gingerich were both waived to adult court and eachface a Murder charge as adults.

The boy didn’t say much in court Wednesday. He answered thejudge’s questions with a yes or no. He looked small sitting at thedefense table with his feet not touching the floor all the way. Theboy wore handcuffs holding his arms together in front of him thewhole time.

After he admitted to the allegations against him, the boy’smother pleaded for the judge to allow her to bring her son home.She said they lived on a farm and wouldn’t leave the house, sothere would be no danger to the boy or the community. She alsopromised to bring her son back to court on May 26th.

“She has a tutor set up and she thinks she can help himeducationally between now and the next hearing,” Kehler said.

The boy’s mother told the judge she also “wanted to spend timewith him and prepare him for what was about to come.”

Kosciusko County Probation Officer Brian House testified for theprosecution. He argued that because of the attention this case isgetting in the community and the media, the boy would be safer in asecure facility. House added Wawasee Middle School is working onsetting up a tutor to go the juvenile facility.

The judge ruled that the boy would remain in the juvenilefacility in Pierceton, where he’s been since he was arrested onApril 21.

He will be back in court on May 26th to hear his punishment.

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