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DA sought transfer of juvenile escapee days before latest breakout

3 months 2 days 15 hours ago Monday, November 27 2023 Nov 27, 2023 November 27, 2023 10:44 PM November 27, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office filed a motion to transfer the teenager who has twice escaped juvenile detention to an adult jail the day that teen was caught after his first breakout.

Court records show that prosecutors asked a judge on Nov. 16 to "transfer (Atkins" to the custody of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison."

Atkins escaped from juvenile jail on Nov. 14 and was recaptured two days later -- only to break free once again on Nov. 25.

He and a second detainee -- both accused of murder -- remained on the run as of Monday evening.

RELATED: Mayor: Baton Rouge needs a new juvenile detention center; details on latest escape

In the filing by Asst. District Attorney Danielle Breaux on behalf of District Attorney Hillar Moore, prosecutors note that Atkins qualified to "be transferred to the appropriate adult facility for detention prior to his trial as an adult (for murder)."

But records show a hearing on that motion is set for late February -- three months from now.

That could prove moot, as Atkins will turn 18 in January and becomes eligible for transfer automatically at that time.

Moore told WBRZ on Monday that the parish prison can accept inmates younger than the age of 18 under certain conditions. But East Baton Rouge Parish Prison cannot meet all of the requirements, so minor offenders -- even those age 17 charged with murder -- are kept at the juvenile facility unless a court intervenes.

"We have to wait until someone turns 18 to move them to the parish prison or the Court orders a 17- or 16-year-old who has been charged with a crime of violence to be transferred to the parish prison," he said.

Moore says he has discussed the inadequacies of the juvenile detention center with Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and with Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

Right now, Moore said his primary concern is the recapture of the two escapees.

"Hopefully they will turn themselves in without any other incident or anyone being harmed or injured," he said.

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