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'Public Enemy' loses bid to send case to juvenile court

A lawyer for a teenager who police briefly dubbed Public Enemy No. 1 early this fall said his client does not deserve the label.

Jamal Williams, 17, and another man are accused of shooting into a crowd of people at a party after getting into a dispute over a missing cell phone at a gas station, according to arguments in court Wednesday.

But attorney Ahmet Hisim argued that only one gun was fired and its not clear that Williams was the shooter. The incident should not have been charged as an attempted murder, Hisim said, and after the hearing added that his client, despite an extensive juvenile record, did not deserve to be called a public enemy.

"He's definitely not that," Hisim said.

Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock agreed that prosecutors "routinely" file charges that are too weighty in shooting cases, but said the allegations against Williams were still "horrendous" and that his case should proceed in the regular court. A trial date is set for January.

Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the state's attorney's office, said prosecutors weight the facts and the law and bring charges on a "case by case basis."

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