Suspect involved in homicide to be tried as adult

Judge Bob Berger listens to the prosecutor and defense during Friday morning’s hearing for one of the suspects of the Ryan Place homicide.

Karl Schneider

The Portage County Juvenile court system decided Friday morning that a suspect involved in the Feb. 7 homicide of Kent State freshman Nicholas Massa at Ryan Place apartments should be tried as an adult.

Judge Bob Berger presided over the hearing and ordered the media to refer to the juvenile defendant only as T. A. K.

T. A. K. was the first suspect apprehended after the homicide and was identified by name in a 9-1-1 call made by the current resident of the apartment.

Berger said the court can bind over any juvenile between the ages of 16 and 17, with probable cause, to the Portage Common Plea court system if the act — or suspected criminal offense — warrants such measures.

A juvenile defendant can also waive their right to a probable cause hearing. T. A. K. and his attorneys waived the right to the trial and Berger granted the motion.

T. A. K.’s defense attorneys have claimed that he was not the shooter and that he wants to waive the probable cause hearing. Berger said the court spoke with T. A. K. prior to Friday’s hearing and is now knowingly waiving his right.

T. A. K. will now face a fine of up to $25,000 and life in prison with the possibility of parole in 20, 25 and 30 years if found guilty of delinquency of aggravated murder.

T. A. K. will be held in Portage County Juvenile Justice Center for at least seven days while the Portage County jail makes room for the defendant. T. A. K. will be placed in segregation due to his age.

The state prosecutor asked for a $1 million bond. Berger said that because of the use of a firearm and the seriousness of the crime, the bond will be set at $2 million.