POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A hearing will be held Wednesday to determine whether a Poplar Bluff teenager should be tried as an adult for allegedly squirting gasoline on another teen and then lighting him on fire.
Associate Circuit Judge John Bloodworth, who serves as juvenile judge, set the certification hearing for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday for the 16-year-old suspect.
Under the state statutes, a certification hearing is mandatory in Class A felonies, according to Butler-Ripley County chief juvenile officer Lesi Smith.
At about 9:10 p.m. June 13, the juvenile caused burns of the upper body, neck and face of Walter Currie Jr. by throwing gasoline on him and setting it alight, deputy juvenile officer Robbie Hale wrote in his petition to the court. The incident occurred at the intersection of Main and Davis streets.
During the hearing, Bloodworth will hear testimony from both sides and then decide whether to certify the teen as an adult in the case.
"It's just like a trial," Smith said.
If Bloodworth upholds the petition, Smith said, the case will be sent to Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour for charges. If he denies the petition, the case would be handled within the juvenile court system.