SIOUX CITY -- A teenager charged with a fatal shooting outside a Sioux City bar will be tried for murder as an adult rather than a juvenile, a judge had ruled.
District Judge Jeffrey Poulson denied a defense request to transfer Dwight Evans' case to juvenile court, saying in his ruling that the 17-year-old's numerous previous contacts in juvenile court failed to rehabilitate past delinquent behavior.
"The court further finds that a waiver of the court's jurisdiction over the child may be in the best interest of the child, but not in the best interest of the community," Poulson said in a ruling filed Tuesday in Woodbury County District Court.
Evans has pleaded not guilty of first-degree murder, going armed with intent, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and failure to affix a drug tax stamp. He's charged with shooting Martez Harrison once in the flank, then standing over him and firing a shot into his chest during a May 1 fight outside Uncle Dave's Bar, 1427 W. Third St.
Poulson called the circumstances of the shooting "brutal," and said he agreed with a state report that said "there are some offenses that, by their very nature, separate adult behavior from that of children."
Evans turned 17 three days before the shooting. Public defender Andrew Munger asked for the transfer because Evans was not yet 18 at the time, and being tried as a juvenile would be in his best interest.
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Had his case been transferred, Evans would have been under the juvenile court's jurisdiction for rehabilitation until 18 months after his 18th birthday.
Evans now will face the charges as an adult and, if convicted of first-degree murder, would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. His trial is scheduled for Nov. 2. He remains in custody on a $1 million bond.
Munger on Friday filed notice that Evans would rely on a defense of self-defense and/or defense of others.
According to court documents, Evans and Lawrence Canady were armed and waiting for Harrison after being denied entry at the bar. When Harrison's girlfriend arrived to pick him up outside the bar, Canady punched her in the face. Harrison pulled Canady away from the woman, and the two began fighting in the street, where Harrison eventually fell to the ground. Evans shot Harrison, and Canady continued to punch him in the face and kick him in the head before he and Evans fled, court documents said.
Harrison, 22, of Sioux City, died later at a Sioux City hospital.
Evans was arrested hours after the shooting. Police executing a search warrant at his home seized additional ammunition, marijuana and a scale from his room.
Canady, 21, of Sioux City, also was arrested shortly after the shooting and has pleaded not guilty of first-degree murder, willful injury and serious assault. His trial is scheduled for Dec. 7. He remains jailed on a $1 million bond.