The multitude of charges filed recently against a Nelsonville teen has astonished prosecutors, some of whom have practiced law since before he was born.
Andrew Riley, 13, is charged with 128 felonies, in Athens County Juvenile Court. They include burglary, theft, vandalism and witness intimidation. The delinquency charges stem from a crime spree that has lasted more than a year, authorities said.
“In my 30 years of doing this, I’ve never had a juvenile that young with so many charges,” Athens County Prosecutor C. David Warren said last night.
Nelsonville police, who continue to investigate the crime spree, have accused Riley of breaking into several homes and businesses, even stealing checks from elderly citizens, Warren said.
At least three other youths, one of them 10 years old, have been charged in the investigation, he said.
“It’s a multitude. This isn’t kid stuff. … He gave a severe beating to one of the witnesses who turned him in,” Warren said.
“You’re getting into his violent nature. We either get him rehabilitated now in the juvenile system or we will be dealing with him for the rest of his life.”
Riley is in a juvenile detention center; a pretrial hearing is scheduled for later this month.
Barely a teen, Riley is too young to be tried in an adult court. Even if convicted on all counts, he still likely would be freed from juvenile prison no later than when he turns 21, prosecutors said.
Despite the paperwork involved, Warren said he is proceeding with all of the cases, hoping to get some restitution for the victims.
“It is very difficult to explain to a victim whose business has been broken into to say we are going to charge on this but not on yours.”
The FullBrooks Cafe, a popular Nelsonville coffee shop, was struck twice, WBNS-TV (Channel 10) reported.
“It sort of like took all the air out of me the first time, and the second time I couldn’t believe it,” FullBrooks owner Miki Brooks told WBNS.
Even in a much larger city, the number of charges against Riley would be unusual.
Triple-digit felony counts “would be very high for Franklin County in my 14 years here,” said Dennis Hogan, chief counsel for the Franklin County prosecutor’s juvenile division.
Reached at home, Hogan remembered some vandals charged with 50 to 60 counts as the highest he’s dealt with in Franklin County.