DA: New Stanton teen accused of killing mom, brother should be tried as adult
The prosecution of a New Stanton teenager charged with killing his mother and younger brother should remain in adult court because it is in the public’s best interest, according to Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck.
Peck this week submitted written legal arguments opposing a defense request to transfer the criminal case of now 16-year-old Jacob Remaley to juvenile court.
Remaley was 14 when police say he shot and killed his mother, Dana, 46, and his brother, Caleb, 8, on Nov. 20, 2016. During a hearing earlier this year, Remaley’s defense attorney presented evidence that he suffered from multiple personalities and mental illness that caused him to commit the crimes.
Because of his mental conditions, the defense wants Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciani to transfer Remaley’s case to juvenile court, where he could be kept in custody only until his 21st birthday.
Remaley could be sentenced to decades in prison if he is convicted of murder as an adult.
Peck argued that psychologists offered differing diagnoses regarding Remaley’s mental health and that even if there is a finding that the teen has mental illness, there is not enough time to adequately treat him in the juvenile justice system.
“Medical experts have had difficulty diagnosing the defendant correctly due to inconsistent versions of the events presented by the defendant. Even though the defendant has been continually treated since Nov. 20, 2016, he has persistent homicidal and suicidal thoughts which show that effective rehabilitation will take a protracted period of time exceeding the 4 1/2 years that the juvenile court would have jurisdiction to supervise him,” Peck wrote.
Dr. Alice Applegate testified for the defense during a hearing in May that Remaley has multiple personalities and believed he was under the influence of a dominant host named “Wrath” when the murders were committed.
Applegate said Remaley had blackouts and memory loss, and his multiple personalities also included a witch, an old man and a little girl.
The defense contends the teen was under the influence of one of the personalities when his father, David Remaley Jr., left for work the morning of Nov. 30, 2016. He retrieved his father’s unloaded Ruger pistol from atop the fridge, loaded it and shot his mother and brother while they slept, Applegate said.