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Attorneys seek to close hearings for boy charged in school shooting

WEST JORDAN — Attorneys for a 14-year-old boy accused of shooting another teenager outside a school are seeking to close all court hearings in the case from the public.

The motion filed by defense attorney Sophia Moore is being opposed by a coalition of Utah media, including the Deseret News, KSL, Salt Lake Tribune, Fox 13, ABC 4, KUTV 2, and the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Third District Juvenile Judge Tupakk Renteria will decide following arguments at a Nov. 17 hearing whether to close the teen's initial appearance, now scheduled for Dec. 1.

The boy's attorneys earlier this month had asked that his initial appearance be rescheduled because of the presence of a TV news camera. The judge had signed a request allowing the camera to be present.

Attorney Austin Riter, who is representing the media, emphasized Thursday that under state law, hearings for juveniles facing charges for serious crimes are presumptively open in Utah. A specific and compelling reason must be proved in order to close them.

The 14-year-old and Joshua Cordova, who goes to Hillcrest High School, met for a fight on the north end of the Union Middle School grounds, 615 E. 8000 South, just as class was letting out on Oct. 25, according to police.

The teen is charged with shooting Cordova, 16, in the head, and then shooting him again after he fell to the ground. A teacher who was outside the school when the shooting happened told detectives at least three shots were fired, and the teen attempted to fire a fourth round but the gun jammed, charging documents state.

Cordova survived the shooting.

The Deseret News has opted not to name the 14-year-old at this time.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has said he will seek to have the teenager certified to face the charges in adult court.

The teenager is charged with attempted murder, a first-degree felony; discharge of a firearm causing serious injury, a first-degree felony; discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony; and possession of a gun on school property, a class A misdemeanor.


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