District attorney pushing for 15-year-old murder suspect to be tried as adult

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. -- The Adams County district attorney said Wednesday he will seek adult murder charges against the 15-year-old boy accused of killing 10-year-old Kiaya Campbell from Thornton.

In court on Wednesday, the prosecution said it would seek to have the suspect tried as an adult at a hearing later this month.

The 17th Judicial District Attorney David Young said the court officially charged the teenager Wednesday with first-degree murder with intent and after deliberation and first-degree murder of a child under the age of 12 by a person in a position of trust.

The judge in juvenile court closed Wednesday’s hearing to everyone but the victim’s and suspect’s families.

But there could be more openness in the case moving forward if Young gets his way.

“When will we start abiding by the law and commandments God has placed upon us?” said the suspect’s father, while holding up his Bible, outside the court hearing.

The suspect’s mother also appeared behind a wall of supporters who shielded her from news cameras.

And for the first time, the victim’s father, Jacoby Campbell, showed up to see his daughter’s alleged killer -- who is also his girlfriend’s teenage son.

Campbell’s daughter, 10-year-old Kiaya, died a week ago, after leaving her father’s Thornton home to go to the store with the suspect. Neighbors found her battered body in a ravine the next day.

“I am working on a motion now to transfer to adult court,” Young said.

But it’s ultimately the judge’s decision to make. It’s a decision in which the judge must weigh certain criteria.

“The heinousness of the crime is one thing that should be taken into account in deciding how to charge. But ultimately the Supreme Court said we can’t run after him with pitch forks. The Supreme Court has taken into consideration the fact that regardless of what he did, his brain is not fully developed,” criminal defense attorney David Beller said.

He said a judge must also weigh a suspect’s age, his family life and mental health.

“Several years ago, we would almost always charge these juveniles as adults. But the Supreme Court has come back and said it’s not a matter of what he did, he’s still a child. And we still have to consider the fact, he is a child, in choosing how to punish him,” Beller said.

Campbell disappeared on June 7.

Her father told police that she and his girlfriend's 15-year-old son left home in the 12400 block of Forest Drive about 8 p.m. to walk to a nearby shopping center.

The 15-year-old boy told police they got separated when a rainstorm moved in. She was reported missing just before midnight.

An Amber Alert was issued Thursday and officers and volunteers canvassed the area all day.

Her body was found that evening in a grassy area near East 128th Avenue and Jasmine Street, about one mile from the home.

Police arrested the 15-year-old boy late Saturday. An exact cause of death has not been released, but the coroner confirmed it was “other than accidental.”

Neighbors described the young girl as a beautiful soul who was vivacious and innocent.

She posted lots of videos on YouTube over the past several years, showing off her new glasses, her homemade slime and collection of squishes.

Kiaya's mother has set up a GoFundMe page to help lay her daughter to rest.

On June 30, m. the court will hear three matters in the case against the teenager: To set hearings to transfer the case to adult court, to set a preliminary hearing and to set a bond hearing.

In the meantime, the suspect remains in the Adams County Juvenile Detention Facility.