The teen parents of a newborn baby girl found in a Dumpster in July 2015 were given a year of supervised probation Thursday at their sentencing in McCracken Circuit Court.
Casside Cherry, 16, and Trevon Elmore, 18, were initially charged with attempted murder, first-degree criminal abuse and tampering with evidence.
After a three-day trial in November, a jury convicted the teens on lesser charges of first-degree wanton endangerment, third-degree criminal abuse and tampering with evidence.
After the verdict, Commonwealth Attorney Carrie Ovey-Wiggins, who prosecuted the case, expressed disappointment at the jury’s decision: “The punishment did not fit the crime.”
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In court Thursday, McCracken Circuit Judge Craig Clymer said that because the teens were convicted on lesser charges, they no longer qualified to face adult sentencing.
“The court could not have certified them … as adults on the crimes for which the jury found them guilty,” he said. “So we then have to go back to the juvenile code and treat them as juveniles as far as the sentencing goes.”
Referring to the Kentucky Revised Statute, Clymer said he couldn’t sentence the teens to more than 90 days each in a juvenile detention center. However, because Elmore has credit for having served 11 months, and Cherry has served about four months, a 90-day sentence would have been meaningless.
“I don’t want this to be misconstrued as agreeing with it, because I don’t,” Ovey-Wiggins told the judge. “But we’re very limited in options as to what can be done.”
The juvenile statute allows for up to 12 months probation, which Clymer imposed.
Additionally, the judge ordered the teens to complete a moral therapy program through Four Rivers, a behavioral treatment program that is designed to reduce recidivism among juvenile and adult offenders.
Clymer also ordered the teens to each pay $150 monthly to the circuit clerk’s office. The money will go toward the care of the child.
After she was found in the dumpster nearly two years ago, the baby was hospitalized for a week and then was released into state custody. The child is now being cared for by an out-of-state relative.