MIAMI – An 18-year-old man accused in the fatal shooting of a 10-year-old boy in Miami earlier this year faced a judge in a Miami-Dade County courtroom Monday morning.
"Do you have any money to hire a lawyer to represent you in this case?" Judge Mindy Glazer asked Ernest Rowell.
"I've got to call my mom and see," Rowell said.
Rowell and Khalib Newkirk, 15, were taken into custody early Saturday morning. Police said the pair killed Marlon Eason as the child chased after a basketball in front of his home in Overtown.
Eason's family held a candlelight vigil over the weekend at the home off Northwest Fourth Court.
Police said the shooting happened March 24, when Rowell was 17 years old. Because Rowell was a juvenile at the time of the shooting, he will now be transferred to juvenile court.
Police said the teens could also be connected the murder of Richard Hallman, 16, who was shot and killed about two hours before Eason.
Police said shell casings on the ground at both scenes match the same gun.
"He will get a trip to sit in juvenile court for 21 days or for as long as it takes for the state to prepare direct-file paperwork or for the state to obtain a grand jury indictment," Glazer said.
Newkirk had a hearing scheduled in juvenile court, which he did not attend. His mother was present, however, and was told by Judge Orlando Prescott that her son would remain within the juvenile justice system for the time being.
The state announced that it intends to charge Newkirk as an adult with second-degree murder.
During a news conference later in the afternoon, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle and Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes thanked the community for their help in finding the suspects.
"Today is not a celebration. Today is a day for all of us to thank the community for coming forward because we have made two arrests in the murder of Marlon Eason," Llanes said. "That family is going to miss that little boy forever, so we're not celebrating the arrests, but what we are doing is saying that together we can really make a difference."
According to an arrest report, the teens admitted to the shooting, but told detectives that they were targeting a car that was carrying gang rivals and never meant to shoot Eason.
Fernandez-Rundle said the state is seeking to charge both suspects as adults and said both will remain jailed without bond.
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