Judge says DA can seek adult trial for teen charged with leaving woman, 72, bound in closet

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Prosecutors have presented enough evidence to pursue their efforts to seek an adult trial for a 17-year-old accused of attacking an elderly woman and leaving her locked in a closet of her Chester County home for four days, a judge said Thursday.

Chester County Judge John Hall said he will determine whether the teen will be tried as an adult at a second hearing at a later date.

At Thursday’s hearing at the Chester County Justice Center, the victim’s daughter-in-law, who found her, and law enforcement officers described seeing her bleeding and bound with zip ties and duct tape. She had a bag over her head and bruises on her face.

“I was shocked,” her daughter-in-law said.

The 72-year-old East Brandywine Township woman stayed in intensive care at Paoli Hospital for several days and continues to receive treatment for infected pressure sores, her daughter-in-law said. The woman now lives with her son’s family, because she no longer wants to be in her home, where she lived alone.

Police said the teen had broken into the home in a wooded area in the 1000 block of Creek Road on Feb. 22, hitting her in the head.

According to police, the teen choked the woman, saying, “You’ll be with Jesus soon.” He is accused of covering her head with a cloth shopping bag, wrapping duct tape around her neck, and tying her arms, knees and ankles before locking her in an unlighted closet at the base of a staircase.

A detective testified the woman’s attacker left a note with “sexually explicit and degrading language” directed at the victim.

The 17-year-old also is accused of taking the victim’s credit cards, cellphone, and laptop and driving away in her car. Police said they saw him on surveillance video at a 7-Eleven in Baltimore driving the victim’s car.

The woman’s daughter-in-law found her four days later and called police.

Michael Raffaele, the teen’s attorney, argued that proescutors had not presented enough evidence to show attempted murder.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Abatemarco said the defendant’s alleged actions showed his intent.

“She was left in that closet with no food, no water,” Abatemarco said.

The boy had escaped from Devereux Brandywine, which serves students with behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric disorders. Police said he walked to the home of the victim, whom he had never met. He returned to Devereux two days later wearing bleached sneakers. On March 1, he was arrested. Police said the inside of his elbow, which he is alleged to have used to choke the victim, was bruised.

He had been arrested for two burglaries in October in Delaware County.

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