Rising Trend Of Teens Helping Teens Commit A Crime

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – When it comes to serious juvenile crimes in the Sioux Empire, prosecutors are finding more times than not, it’s a group of teens acting together.

Just last month a 17-year-old was fatally shot. Police arrested an 18-year-old for murder, as well as a 16-year-old for aiding and abetting. A Minnehaha County attorney says the trend could be related to drugs.

As the senior Juvenile Prosecutor, Deputy State’s Attorney Carole James says many teens involved in criminal activity don’t realize what they’re getting into.

“We often will hear, ‘but I didn’t actually commit the crime’, or ‘I didn’t do the worst part’,” says James. “Not only prosecutors, but defense attorneys or the judge, all explain to them ‘well that doesn’t necessarily matter’.”

When someone is charged with aiding and abetting it means, “you’ve aided in the planning of the crime, or advised the person of some aspect of committing the crime,” says James. “So you’re charged as if you are committing the charge yourself.”

A Lincoln County Grand Jury recently indicted 16-year-old Jaden Carmel in the shooting death of Riley Stonehouse. Since the other person involved, 18-year-old Dylan Holler, is facing 1st degree murder and aggravated assault. Carmel is facing aiding and abetting murder and aggravated assault, as well.

“I don’t know, and can’t speak to the specific facts in Lincoln County, but when there’s multiple kids getting together, coming up with a crime, I think it’s easier for multiple kids to come up with it than just one kid by themselves,” says James.

Police say the Bakker Park incident involved drugs, which James says plays a big factor in these teen on teen group crimes.

“We’ve seen a lot of cases with guns and drug rips, as they are referred to, gone wrong,” she says. “The more you use, the more you are involved in that drug culture, the more likely you are going to find yourself connected to somebody who is doing something more serious than just using marijuana.”

Aiding and abetting is different than being charged as an accessory, which James says a lot of people get confused about. An accessory is when someone tries to prevent a criminal from getting arrested or destroying evidence. Being an accessory, you are not charged as if you committed the crime like aiding and abetting. James says it is generally a lesser charge.

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