A juvenile facing charges after firing a gun out a car window and making gang signs as the vehicle traveled up and down a road in Sawyer asked to be certified as an adult last week in Carlton County Court.
Broderic Thomas Mullen, 17, of Sawyer appeared in a juvenile court hearing on Tuesday before Judge Dale Wolf. Attorney Tom Skare, speaking on Mullen's behalf, told Judge Wolf that although Mullen was eligible for extended juvenile court jurisdiction, Mullen wished to be certified as an adult.
"He said that is his preferred method of dealing with the charges against him," said Skare.
In a juvenile delinquency petition filed in February, Mullen was charged with one felony count of possession of a prohibited weapon by an underaged person and one misdemeanor count of reckless handling/use of a weapon.
"His charges are not [grounds for a] presumptive commit to prison in adult court, therefore we did not have a presumptive certification situation," said Assistant County Attorney Michael Boese. "But because he sought to waive into adult court, that is how we got there. Mr. Mullen is stating a willing, active intent to be tried as an adult, and we obliged him. I think he believes there will be less of a consequence in the adult realm. Mr. Mullen has many previous contacts with the juvenile court system, and therefore we are running out of options with him there, so the consequences would most likely be quite onerous. In contrast, since he has no contacts in the adult court system, he is looking at local time and probation as a consequence, not prison.
"In the short run, [to be certified as an adult] might shorten his term," concluded Boese, "but it would definitely have long-term ramifications."
Skare informed the court that Mullen was requesting the certification against his advice and making that determination "voluntarily and of his own free will."
Judge Wolf pointed out to Mullen that if certified, he would have an adult court record and would face possible placement in an adult facility, particularly if he commits subsequent offenses.
Mullen stated he understood all of the implications of his decision but said he wanted to go through with adult certification nonetheless.
Skare then requested that Mullen, who has been lodged at the Arrowhead Juvenile Center, be released on his own recognizance, assessed for pre-trial release, or have minimum bail set since this is his first adult charge.
Probation Officer Tom Proulx and Boese both recommended Mullen be kept in custody, however, since he was the person to possess the firearm that was fired in the incident and he fired multiple shots at the time, terrorizing the neighbors while flashing gang signs. Boese requested that bail be set at $75,000.
Wolf set bail at $50,000 and ruled that Mullen be housed at the Carlton County Jail, since he was now being prosecuted as an adult. Mullen then made his first appearance and Rule 8 hearing last Thursday afternoon, and the court filed the complaint against him as an adult. In that complaint, Boese added a second degree assault charge. Mullen is now set for an omnibus hearing in April.
Also facing charges in the same incident are David James Barney, 18, of Cloquet; James Orville Councillor, 18, of Cloquet; and Morgan Rae Delille, 18, of Cloquet. All are charged with felony aiding and abetting possession of a pistol by a minor, aid and abet reckless handling/use of a weapon (a misdemeanor), and felony terroristic threats. Barney is also charged with fifth-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, in this case morphine.
A juvenile female, 15, faces the same aid and abet charges as the adults in the case as well as felony terroristic threats. She is also charged with giving a false name and birthdate to law enforcement officials.
According to the criminal complaint and law enforcement reports, on Feb. 2 the Carlton County Sheriff's Department and the Fond du Lac Police Department responded to a report of 10-12 shots being fired at an address on the 3600 block of West Moorhead Road. The complainant also stated that a juvenile male flashed gang signs and then got into a car and drove past the same house several more times flashing gang signs and waving a "loaded pistol" several times at the witness.
Officers eventually located and stopped the car near the intersection of Davis and West Moorhead roads, with five people in the car at the time. Officers located the loaded handgun under the front passenger seat and later determined it had been reported stolen in St. Louis County.