Judge won't drop charges related to boys' murder case
PENSACOLA -- A judge on Wednesday denied a man's request for dismissal of charges that he kidnapped and had sex with one of two teenage boys who killed their father with a baseball bat.
Circuit Judge Frank Bell also refused Ricky Chavis' request to move his trial because of extensive local media coverage, saying he'll see first whether an impartial jury can be picked Monday.
Chavis, 41, is accused of abducting and molesting Alex King, now 13. The boy and his brother, Derek, 14, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for the Nov. 26, 2001 death of Terry King, 40, at their home in nearby Cantonment.
Prosecutors say the brothers, then 12 and 13, had run away from home and stayed with Chavis in Pensacola 10 days before the murder and that he hid them from police after Terry King's head was clubbed with an aluminum baseball bat as he slept in his recliner. Chavis is facing another trial Feb. 24 on charges of accessory after the fact to murder and evidence tampering.
The state's kidnapping law makes it a crime to keep a child under 13 without permission of a parent or guardian, even if the child consents. (Chavis was charged with kidnapping only Alex; Derek was 13.) The molestation charge arose from a statement Alex gave police in which he said he and Chavis, a convicted child molester, were lovers.
Defense lawyer Michael Rollo said the molestation and kidnapping charges should be dismissed because prosecutors had engaged in "duplicity, misconduct and gamesmanship" by also trying Chavis for the murder, based on lies the boys told police, a grand jury and two trial juries.
One jury last year acquitted Chavis of first-degree murder while another found the boys guilty of second-degree murder without a weapon. Bell threw out the brothers' convictions, saying they did not receive a fair trial partly because of the unusual dual prosecutions. He ordered mediation, and the guilty pleas resulted.
"This case has nothing to do with the murder of Mr. King," Bell said as he denied Rollo's motion. . . . There is no violation of due process as it concerns Mr. Chavis -- none, zero."
Chavis attended the hearing, but he said nothing.
Although Bell sentenced the brothers as adults, prison officials have sent them to juvenile facilities, where Derek is serving an eight-year sentence and Alex seven years.
Bell said he also intended to let Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer introduce evidence that Chavis was convicted of molesting two teenage boys in 1984. He said he may reconsider if Rollo presents persuasive case law arguing against it.
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From the Times state desk
From the state wire