Murder Suspect Awaiting Charges

STEUBENVILLE – The 16-year-old suspected of fatally shooting two men Wednesday night will remain behind bars this weekend while the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office prepares to formally file charges against the boy.

During a detention hearing Thursday in Jefferson County Juvenile Court, Judge Samuel Kerr adopted Assistant Prosecutor Sam Pate’s recommendation that the boy remain in the County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was booked after Steubenville police arrested him around 2 a.m. Thursday.

Steubenville Police Chief William McCafferty on Friday said investigators had not yet determined what motivated the boy to shoot Ryan Toson, 21, and Otavius Wilson, 19, both of Steubenville. He said, however, that police would not publicly release the boy’s motive if they determine that he had one.

Toson and Wilson were standing outside at the Heritage Place Apartments on Market Street around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when the 16-year-old allegedly approached and shot them multiple times. Toson and Wilson were transported to Trinity Medical Center West, where they were later pronounced dead.

McCafferty said neither the victims nor the alleged gunman lived at Heritage Place, and it is unclear what they were doing at the apartment complex at the time of the shooting. The 16-year-old knew the victims, McCafferty noted, but the extent of their relationship is unclear.

The boy reportedly fled the scene on foot following the shooting. There were witnesses to the double murder, but McCafferty would not disclose if anyone had identified the boy as the shooter.

The prosecutor’s office must formally file charges against the 16-year-old within 72 business hours of the detention hearing. If charges are not brought by early next week, the boy can be released from custody.