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April 26, 2012

Teen granted immunity to testify in homicide case

NEW CASTLE — For the second time, a juvenile expected to testify in a homicide case has received immunity.

Lawrence County Judge J. Craig Cox Wednesday granted the request from Thomas Minett, assistant district attorney.

The 17-year-old is scheduled to testify tomorrow in the case of De’andre K. McQueen, 16, of Detroit. He is charged as an adult with criminal homicide, aggravated and simple assault, possession of instruments of crime and recklessly endangering another person in the Dec. 3 fatal shooting of Eric Staller, who was found on Locust Street.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday.

Minett had secured immunity for the juvenile to testify at a preliminary hearing March 22, but the witness could not be found and the hearing was continued.

Located by New Castle police who are prosecuting the homicide case, the juvenile has since been adjudicated a dependent child and has been in protective custody in a youth facility.

In granting the immunity request, Cox explained the juvenile, who was in the courtroom, may not refuse to testify or claim Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

“No testimony you are compelled to give can be used against you in a criminal case,” Cox explained, “with the exceptions of perjury, false swearing or if you fail to comply with the immunity order and refuse to testify.”

In those cases, he told the juvenile, civil or criminal contempt charges could be filed. This carries a maximum penalty that includes a $1,000 fine, one year in detention or both.

The juvenile also had been granted immunity and testified in January in a case involving McQueen and Jamal Lamarr Mock Sr., 23, also of Detroit. The two were charged in a home invasion and shooting on Sunny Avenue in Union Township in December.

Both were held for court on all charges.

Mock is charged with five counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count each of aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, theft by unlawful taking, simple assault, killing or maiming a domestic animal and conspiracy to commit robbery. McQueen is charged with two counts each of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and simple assault and one count each of burglary, robbery, theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit robbery.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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