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One of five teens charged in Warren County shooting death takes plea deal

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office blocked Oregonia Road, east of Lebanon, while investigating the fatal shooting of Mason Trudics, 18, of Centerville. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office blocked Oregonia Road, east of Lebanon, while investigating the fatal shooting of Mason Trudics, 18, of Centerville. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

One Montgomery County teen is headed to state juvenile detention — and another could get a similar deal — in criminal cases against two of five area teens charged in the fatal shooting of their 18-year-old friend in December during a botched robbery outside Lebanon.

Jacob W. Hicks, 16, of Washington Twp., Montgomery County, was sentenced on Friday to at least four years in state detention after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter with a firearm specification in Warren County Juvenile Court.

On Monday, Hicks, who agreed to “cooperate and testify truthfully and accurately in any future legal proceedings involving his co-defendants,” remained in the detention center in Lebanon. He is expected to be transferred to the Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility.

RELATED: Warren County teen tragedy: Suspects to remain in custody through new year

Jackson P. Pelphrey, 16, of Centerville, is scheduled for a plea and sentencing on July 20 in the juvenile court. No details were available on his plea bargain on Monday.

Court filings and statements Monday shed new light on the case.

Hicks, Pelphrey, Kayla J. Carmack, Logan Dean and Dakota Cox allegedly plotted to lure the alleged victim “for the purposes of tying him up, stripping him of his clothes” and taking him back to his home. There, they planned to rob him and split the proceeds, including money and marijuana, Judge Joe Kirby said in his rulings.

At Carmack’s bedroom window, the shooter “heard a noise behind him only to find Mason Trudics coming toward him with a baseball bat.” The intended robbery target fatally wounded Trudics, 18, of Centerville, and seriously wounded Dean, who fired two shots “as he was running away,” Kirby added.

Hicks, Pelphrey and Cox all claim to have abandoned the robbery plan before the shooting started.

Also last week, murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy cases against Carmack, 17, of Turtlecreek Twp., and Dean, now 17, of Washington Twp., Montgomery County, were bound over to adult court for consideration by a grand jury.

“The charges currently filed against Carmack and Dean are the same charges I expect the grand jury to consider when their cases are presented in the next few weeks,” Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Monday.

He said nothing happened with Pelphrey’s plea agreement yet.

“However, Hicks and Pelphrey were both involved in the planning of the robbery and didn’t legally abandon their participation in the criminal conspiracy. They both initially got out of the vehicle, staked their positions, and lied in wait to conduct the robbery,” Fornshell said.

“However, when the victim didn’t arrive at the anticipated time, they all (with the exception of Kayla) left the Carmack residence. When they learned that the victim had finally arrived at the residence, Cox, Hicks, and Pelphrey remained in the vehicle while Trudics, Dean, and Carmack continued to try to carry out the robbery.”

Fornshell explain that, through the plea with Hicks, “we tried to balance his criminal liability for helping to plan this ill-conceived idea which resulted in his co-conspirator’s death with his respective involvement in what ultimately occurred, keeping in mind his young age, acceptance of responsibility, and goal of rehabilitation.”

Hicks, Pelphrey, Carmack and Dean remained in juvenile detention Monday.

Cox, 18, is already charged in Warren County Common Pleas Court with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, conspiracy, tampering with evidence and possession of criminal tools. He remained in the county jail, on a $1 million bond, set to return to court on Aug. 18.

RELATED: Judge delays hearing in Warren County teen murder case

In addition to the marijuana, the defendants were allegedly motivated by the intended victim’s relationship with Carmack, whom Trudics was also dating.

In March, Kirby delayed the juvenile hearings in the case in response to orders issued in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Dean, Carmack and Hicks have been in the county detention center since Dec. 17, Pelphrey since Feb. 14.