The three — along with 17-year-old Kayla Carmack of Warren County — are facing aggravated robbery and murder charges. Investigators allege they all are linked to a botched robbery attempt that ended with one of the alleged assailants, Mason Trudics, dead, and Dean critically wounded.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office said the teens planned to use a firearm and baseball bat to rob and kidnap an unidentified individual who came to Carmack’s address at 1869 Oregonia Road in Turtlecreek Twp.
Instead, the individual also had a firearm, the sheriff's office said, and defended himself against the attack. Trudics was fatally shot, while Dean was shot in the chest but is expected to survive.
“Clearly there’s been a change in the last 20 years as to the motivation and the thoughtfulness that precede certain acts or allegations,” said Jon Paul Rion, a lawyer representing Cox. “Acts are occurring with far less thought about consequence and the recognition of the seriousness of the behavior.”
Rion also said actions are amplified by technology in the form of a gun, motor vehicle or electronic device.
“The consequences can far exceed anyone’s intentions,” Rion said Friday. “How do we deal with this?”
The sheriff’s office and Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell have not commented further on the case despite repeated requests by the Dayton Daily News.
All four defendants have pleaded not guilty in the cases against them. Fornshell wants the juveniles tried in adult court.
The lack of criminal history isn’t the only thing the three male defendants have in common.
Cox, Hicks and Dean live in the Centerville school district and in Washington Twp., an unincorporated area of Montgomery County outside Centerville.
Cox and Hicks were attending Centerville High School before their arrests, according to school officials. Dean also was in the Centerville district but attended an outside program, officials said. Meanwhile, Trudics and Carmack attended the Warren County Career Center together.
Washington Twp. is along the Montgomery-Warren County line. The area has seen extensive development, including new housing subdivisions and planned communities.
According to Montgomery County property records, the three live in single-family homes valued at about $150,000 each.
Dean lives in ranch house near the southeastern edge of Montgomery County; Hicks near the Kroger Marketplace off Ohio 48 in Washington Twp., and Cox in a neighborhood off Ohio 48, just north of Interstate 675.
Centerville student killed in Warren County shooting
The Dayton Daily News has attempted to speak with Cox and his parents but was denied. The newspaper has also attempted to reach the families of the other defendants but has been unsuccessful.
Cox is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 26, but he could be indicted in the meantime.
Carmack and Hicks are scheduled for hearings on Jan. 13. Their cases could be transferred to Warren County’s adult court.
Carmack was the only suspect who lived outside the Centerville-Washington Twp. area, and she is also the only one with previous juvenile court records, according to court officials.
Before she was charged with murder and robbery, Carmack was scheduled to return to the juvenile court in Lebanon in January on an unruliness charge, court records show.
On Nov. 27, Magistrate Carolyn Duvelius ordered an arrest warrant for her to be recalled and set the case for a Jan. 17 hearing.
The charge, filed on Jan 18, stems from allegations that she turned off her cellphone and GPS the night before, crawled out of her bedroom window, then skipped school the next day, prompting her parents to report her missing, according to court records.
9-1-1: Victim pleaded for help in Turtlecreek Twp. shooting
Carmack was located in Clearcreek Twp. and returned home.
“She made the statement she would just run away again,” according to the charging document.
In July 2018, Carmack was ordered to write an apology letter, complete 30 hours of community service, undergo anger management and counseling for attempted assault, according to juvenile court records.
The sentence stemmed from allegations that on March 26, 2018, she tried to hit a sheriff’s deputy with a laptop work station “by throwing it across the room towards my head,” the deputy said in the charging document.
Carmack had several outbursts in court during her arraignment last week, including a demand that she not be filmed. She can also be heard loudly sobbing and screaming during the 9-1-1 call that was placed by her mother in the aftermath of the shooting as Trudics and Dean were outside the windows of the Carmack house.
Her mother says during the phone call that Kayla was having a panic attack.