ELYRIA — A Lorain teen accused in the shooting death of a 31-year-old man pleaded not guilty Thursday during an appearance before a Lorain County Juvenile Court magistrate.
Defense attorney Anthony Baker, representing Darius Ramey, 16, entered a not guilty plea to juvenile charges of felony murder and felonious assault during an arraignment before Magistrate Steve Blake.
Ramey is accused of fatally shooting Kenneth Shinafelt of Lorain in the head on Reeves Avenue near West 23rd Street on July 11. Shinafelt died a day after the shooting.
The teen turned himself in to Lorain police last week on an arrest warrant sworn out in connection with Ramey’s alleged probation violations from an unrelated robbery case.
HANDOUT PHOTO FROM LORAIN POLICE DEPARTMENT of suspect Darius Ramey
Authorities have not yet released additional details in the shooting.
Under state law, prosecutors have the right to request that anyone 14 years of age or older who is charged with felony crimes be tried as an adult.
Upon entry of the not guilty plea, known as a denial of charges in juvenile court proceedings, Assistant County Prosecutor Amy Price filed a motion to dismiss a lesser murder charge filed against him. Both remaining felonies carry gun specifications, which indicate that a firearm was used during the commission of both crimes for which the teen is charged and elevate the possible sentence.
Ramey has an extensive criminal record, according to Price, which includes delinquency charges, as well as juvenile charges of robbery and assault.
Baker indicated the robbery involved Ramey pushing someone off a bicycle, which he then stole.
During the arraignment, Ramey signed papers giving him the right to request at some future point that his record in the case be sealed.
The teen and his mother, Anita Zendejas, hugged and exchanged quiet words immediately after the hearing.
Zendejas, who did not speak during the hearing, earlier had requested her son be released during court proceedings, but Price argued Ramey be held, saying he posed a flight risk.
During an initial hearing before Blake, Zendejas said media had unfairly portrayed her son, which in turn endangered his life as he was shot at by unknown persons while walking to her house.
Following the hearing, Baker said he will continue to oppose efforts to have Ramey tried as an adult on grounds evidence in the case isn’t sufficient enough to support the more serious felony counts.
Ramey is also being represented by Michael Towne, an attorney appointed by the juvenile court to represent the teen’s interests as a guardian ad litem.
Both Baker and Towne said they plan to oppose the prosecution’s efforts to have Ramey tried as an adult. An Aug. 23 probable cause hearing before Lorain County Juvenile Court Judge Lisa Swenski will determine whether Ramey is to be bound over and treated as an adult.
Ramey continues to be held at the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Center.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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