Teen appears in court

Dezjuan Moffite, 16, of Meridian, appeared in Meridian Municipal Court on Monday afternoon. He is charged with manslaughter, armed robbery and attempted murder.

Police and prosecutors decided during a Monday hearing to reduce the charges a Meridian teenager faces in the death last Thursday of Randarious R. Stancil-Martin.

Dezjuan Moffite, 16, now faces charges for attempted murder, armed robbery and manslaughter, reduced from charges for capital murder at his preliminary hearing.

Police said Moffite and Martin attempted to rob apartment residents at the St. Francis Apartments on Thursday around 7:30 p.m. with handguns.

Moffite attempted to fire a gun several times but the gun jammed and misfired, hence the charge for attempted murder, Meridian Police Department Detective Joseph Peters said at the hearing on Monday.

Martin, 22, and a resident fought over the other gun and the resident shot Martin three times in the chest, according to police.

A local hospital later declared Martin dead.

One of the apartment’s residents, a young teenage woman, told police she recognized Moffite, a friend, at the door but that the second man, Martin, wore a mask. The force of Moffite and Martin pushing open the door knocked her to the ground, according to police statements Monday.

Judge Robbie Jones determined that police had enough evidence for Moffite to be held on bond until the next available grand jury.

“I consider all three very serious offenses,” Jones said before announcing Moffit’s bond. “It's obviously a regrettable circumstance that a young man, 16 years of age, is charged with such serious matters.”

Jones set bond for Moffit at $300,000 for armed robbery, $250,000 for manslaughter and $200,000 for attempted murder — or $750,000 total.

Jones explained that, initially, Moffite had been charged with capital murder for Martin’s death because Martin died during a crime committed by Moffite.

“After reading the statute and going over it with the prosecutors, it appeared to us that the facts better suited manslaughter and attempted murder,” Jones said. “It’s complicated and obviously unnecessary that this set of events even happened but the facts seem to better suit those charges rather than capital murder.”

React to this story:

1
2
2
13
6