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Marion teen accused of killing man, could be charged as adult

MARION, Ind. — A 13-year-old boy is accused of shooting and killing a man at a gas station in Marion.

On March 11, police say they received a call of a person shot at the Circle K gas station at 901 E. Bradford St. When police arrived, they found 24-year-old Byron Otis Dennis Jr. with a gunshot wound to his chest. He was transported to Marion Health hospital where he was pronounced dead.

After reviewing surveillance video of the incident, police say they identified a person of interest. Information led them to a house on East Highland Avenue in Marion. Eventually, the suspect, was taken into custody and was transported to another county to be detained. A search warrant was obtained for the house.

"This is a tragic case. We have two families whose lives have been profoundly impacted by senseless acts of violence," Grant County prosecutor Scott Hunt said.

Hunt says the teen was arrested and now faces a petition to have him waived to adult court to be charged as an adult

"Given the facts and circumstances of the case through the investigation from the Marion Police Department, the nature of what occurred and the number of people that he put in danger during this crime, I believe warranted the request to waive him to adult court."

Hunt said the petition hearing is weeks away. During that hearing, a judge will determine whether or not to waive the teen to adult court.

"The family of this juvenile who's being charged, their life has been changed forever by this. And the whole idea is that we do not want to see this; violence is not necessary," Hunt said.

Meanwhile, the victim’s family is trying to cope with the loss of their family member. 

“There's no words to describe the pain,” Dennis’s sister Jazmine said. “I almost feel like it's still unreal. It all very much seems real, but I don't want to believe it.”

Jazmine described her brother as someone who was always a family member, acting as an uncle figure for his friends’ children.

 “He would treat them like their own. He loved them and spoiled them and do everything. So, his niece, my three-year-old, she is asking about him because she's hearing his name…so she's like, where's my uncle?...I know she can't understand it but she sees that I'm sad she sees that our family is hurting so she knows there's some there's some hurt.”

For Jazmine, she says she wants closure in seeing remorse from the suspect.

“I don't wish anything bad on this 13-year-old. Whatever he gets is what he well-earned himself, but the only gist is that I would see some type of remorse, some type of compassion for the family and a life that you took,” Jazmine said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with financial burden for the Dennis family. You can find it by clicking here. 

Contact Alex Almanza with comments at aalmanza@bsu.edu