PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The 16-year-old boy facing charges in connection with the death of a teenage girl in Penn Hills last month has been ordered to stand trial.
On March 22, 17-year-old Teesa Williams was found in her Azalea Drive home after a fire broke out there. Officials said she had a gunshot wound to the head and also suffered smoke inhalation.
Police arrested 16-year-old Akeem Page-Jones in the case. He is being charged as an adult, and was in court today for a preliminary hearing.
Williams’ mother walked out of court this morning saying today was beyond hard.
Mark Tranquilli, with the District Attorney’s Office, says it’s tough when both the victim and defendant are so young.
“Anytime you see basically two young lives that are ruined, I think it’s hard on everybody – police, prosecutors, the defense attorneys and all the families involved,” said Tranquilli.
According to police, Page-Jones is accused of shooting Williams and then setting fire to the house.
According to Allegheny County Police testimony, Page-Jones told authorities that he and Williams scuffled with a gun he had when it accidentally went off.
Tranquilli would not comment on that testimony. He says Page-Jones is innocent until proven guilty, but the charges are stacked against him.
“If he were convicted of first or second degree murder, which is a felony murder encompassed by an arson charge, he would conceivably be looking at life in prison without parole,” he said.
The public defender representing Page-Jones also refused to comment, as well as the victim’s mother, but Tranquilli did briefly speak on her behalf.
“She is not a person who blames anyone,” he said. “Obviously, she wants to see justice, but she’s not filled with hatred or blame.”