Court date delayed for Hamilton teen accused in father’s death

Court date delayed for Hamilton teen accused in father’s death

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Lynch, Greg (CMG-Dayton)
A 14-year-old Hamilton girl who allegedly shot her father, 71-year-old James Ponder, to death on Feb. 23 appeared before Judge Kathleen Romans in Butler County Juvenile Court. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

A juvenile court hearing for a 14-year-old girl charged with aggravated murder — accused of shooting her father to death —has been continued until later this summer.

The teen was scheduled to appear before Butler County Juvenile Judge Kathleen Romans on Tuesday, but the pre-trial hearing has been moved to Aug. 3, according to Rob Clevenger, court administrator.

Defense attorney Matthew Fritsch requested the continuance on Friday, “in order to allow adequate time to continue its investigation and preparation into this matter (and) to consult with the client on the manner in which to proceed …”

On Feb. 23, the girl, then a high school freshman, picked up a 9 mm handgun, loaded it and shot her 71-year-old father, James Ponder, in the head at their Millville Avenue home, according to police and prosecutors.

No motive for the shooting has been offered.

Earlier this month, Romans ruled the teen’s case would remain in juvenile court. Prosecutors had requested she be tried as an adult.

Romans said she considered the girl’s age, her lack of a criminal history and determined she wasn’t physically and emotionally mature enough to be tried in adult court.

The judge told the girl, who sat motionless during the hearing, that this is a “very serious case” and determining whether to move it to adult court was “a serious decision.”

The Journal-News is not naming the teen because she is charged as a juvenile. The teen remains housed in the county juvenile detention center.

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