YOUNGSTOWN Mother, 18, to be tried as an adult
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- An 18-year-old East Side woman accused of killing her 11-month-old son got her wish to be tried as an adult when her case was bound over to a grand jury.
Janelle Thomas faces up to 10 years' imprisonment on an involuntary manslaughter charge after Judge Theresa Dellick of Mahoning County Juvenile Court this morning granted the teen's request to waive a hearing that would determine if the case would stay at the juvenile court level or move to the adult court.
Judge Dellick set a $1 million bond. Thomas had previously been held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Thomas, of North Garland Avenue, had requested that her case be transferred from juvenile court to the adult court last week after Judge Dellick had found probable cause to proceed with the involuntary manslaughter charge.
She told the judge she is innocent and wants a jury trial. Judge Dellick would have decided the case if it had stayed at the juvenile court level.
Thomas is accused of killing Leroy Huff Jr., who died in October. A coroner has testified that he died from injuries sustained when his head was either hit with or struck against a blunt object.
Reaction: Carl Jones, the child's paternal great-grandfather, said he's pleased to see the case being transferred and the bond increased.
"I'm happy with the decision for her to get bound over and that they upped that bond so she doesn't get out," Jones said.
Janelle Thomas' mother, Jayellen Thomas, said the new bond is ridiculous. But she said she believes a jury will acquit her daughter.
"I believe the truth is really going to come out," Jayellen Thomas said.
Janelle Thomas would have faced detention until her 21st birthday if found responsible for the crime at the juvenile level. At the adult level she faces a minimum of three years and a maximum of 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Her lawyer, Mark Lavelle, said a judge also could opt to order probation if the teen is found guilty.