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14-year-old to be tried as an adult in killing of 16-year-old

A 14-year-old boy who is one of three people charged in the death of a 16-year-old girl in June will be tried as an adult after a judge denied his motion to have the case transferred to juvenile court.

Raeshawn Rivers is charged with murder, rape, arson and gang offenses in the death of Arnesha Bowers, an 11th-grader at City College high school.

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Bowers was found June 7 in her Northeast Baltimore rowhouse. A prosecutor said Bowers was sexually assaulted and her body mutilated in an attempt to destroy DNA evidence. Police said the suspects stole $40, an iPad and a laptop before setting the home on fire.

"I am extremely distressed by this case. Mr. Rivers is a very young man," Baltimore Circuit Judge Julie R. Rubin said at a hearing last month.

But, she continued, "there are just some crimes. This was, I believe, a calculated crime."

Rivers' attorney, James L. Scott, had argued his client was led by the other, older defendants.

"He is a child," Scott said at the hearing. "Mr. Rivers was influenced by people in this event."

He said Rivers was threatened at gunpoint by his co-defendants.

Rivers and two other defendants, Adonay Dixon, 24, and John Childs, 21, are scheduled to stand trial in January.

Scott did not respond to a request for comment, and a public defender listed as Dixon's and Childs' attorney could not be reached.

Rubin issued her decision during a hearing on a request to move Rivers' case to juvenile court. The judge had to consider several factors, including Rivers' age, physical and mental condition, amenability to treatment, public safety and the nature of the crime.

Rubin cited the nature of the crime as a particularly compelling reason to deny the request.

"There could not be a more repugnant alleged crime," she said. Rubin called Bowers "a complete and utter innocent" victim, who was "very much preyed upon."

Rubin said it was not up to her to decide whether Rivers was under any duress, as Scott had argued, or how that affected his actions.

She said it was "uncommon" to see a defendant so young, but noted a report discussed in court that described Rivers as a "principal" in the case.

Rubin also referred to Rivers' alleged use of a cellphone to conceal the crime, and his alleged efforts with his co-defendants to hide evidence.

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Assistant State's Attorney Gavin Patashnick said "there are just some crimes that cannot be mitigated in the juvenile court."

He said there was no "impulsiveness" in this case. "This is a calculated crime that happened over many, many hours," he said, as the victim was sexually assaulted, her home was ransacked, and she was strangled before her home was set on fire.

Scott had argued the juvenile court is equipped to handle young offenders charged with more serious offenses.

Rivers is not the youngest defendant to face serious charges as an adult. Brian Wonsom was charged as an adult at age 13 in the 2010 death of a teacher at the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree rape and was sentenced to 85 years.

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