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Kenosha Judge Refuses to Send Homicide Case to Juvenile Court

Nov. 27, 2019 5:45p; Updated 11-28 with correct day of hearing

(WGTD)----A Kenosha judge ruled Wednesday that the case of a 16-year-old Kenosha boy who shot and killed his ex-girlfriend then seriously wounded her mother should remain in adult court.

Judge Mary Kay Wagner said that moving the case to juvenile court, as had been requested by the defense, would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the crime. Judge Wagner also rejected arguments that the state's adult prison system is poorly equipped to afford adequate treatment options for younger offenders. Martise Fuller was 15 when he killed Kaylie Juga and wounded her mother, Stephanie Juga, in the Juga family home on the city's west side. 

Wagner's brief ruling from the bench was preceded by a three-and-a-half-hour-long hearing. During much of the time, Fuller sat at the defense table hunched over with his head down. Afterward, Fuller was led off in handcuffs sobbing. Several family members who were present in the courtroom also cried. 

If convicted as charged, Fuller would receive a mandatory 'life' prison term, with the judge having the ability to set a parole eligibility date.  

The hearing featured two conflicting pictures of Fuller in the months and years leading up to the shootings.

On one hand, Fuller, a one-time starting quarterback for the Bradford Red Devils, was described as someone who felt alienated from his family and peers and probably suffered from low-grade depression, poor self-esteem and an inability to 'read' people's reactions. Matters were made worse after he was expelled from school.  

That view came from forensic psychologist Anthony Jurek, who spent over four hours interviewing Fuller over two sessions in October. 

Because of conflicts with family members, Fuller, in the weeks before the shootings, was essentially homeless and spent nights couch-surfing. Testimony included a reference to a brief period of mental health counseling. 

On the other hand, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley blamed Fuller for causing his own problems. At one point, Fuller fought with his mother over a cell phone, allegedly took the family car without permission and failed to follow rules laid down by his grandparents, who had offered him a place to stay after he was kicked out of his family's home.  

In arguing to him as an adult, Graveley said Fuller, if adjudicated in juvenile court, would have to be released from custody by age 25, if not sooner.   

Fuller's trial is scheduled for February, with a motions hearing planned for the second week in January. Fuller's attorneys indicated that they planned to seek a change of venue and will move to throw out statements made by Fuller to investigators.