April 28, 2017
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Alleged gunman in Kenosha homicide gets time for tests

Defense seeks expert for exam in hopes of moving case to juvenile court


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BY DENEEN SMITH
dsmith@kenoshanews.com


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Defense attorneys are looking for more time to find an expert witness to examine their 16-year-old client — charged as an adult with first-degree murder — in the hope of moving him into juvenile court.

Latonio Simpson is alleged to be one of two people who shot Willie Owens last fall, shooting the Kenosha man as he stood in his front yard during a celebration of his birthday last October.

Simpson was one of a group of people who reportedly went to Owens’s home seeking another man with whom they had a dispute earlier in the day. The complaint states, when Owens stepped in to try to stop what he believed was a coming fight, Simpson and a second man, James L. Butler, shot him.

Owens died in his front yard.

Butler was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Three other people who were with the pair are also charged with first-degree homicide, party to a crime, for their roles in the aiding the shooters.

Simpson appeared in court Tuesday for a reverse-waiver hearing. Because he was charged with first-degree homicide he was automatically charged as an adult despite his age. His attorneys want his case moved back into the juvenile court system.

Defense attorney Carl Johnson asked Circuit Court Judge Mary K. Wagner for more time, saying that one of the two psychiatrists who examined Simpson had recommended that he have a neuropsychological examination.

“Our obligation is to this young man who is now charged as an adult and who now faces spending the rest of his life in prison,” Johnson said in seeking the delay.

Johnson said the exam would look specifically into Simpson’s brain function. He said the defense received the recommendation to seek the exam in early April, and that they have not yet found an expert willing to do the exam.

“As it stands right now we do not have experts to present,” Johnson said.

District Attorney Michael Graveley objected to a delay, and asked that the reverse-waiver hearing move forward Tuesday, or at least be rescheduled quickly. He said he doubted the defense would be able to meet the legal burden to move the case into the juvenile system.

“This was a deliberate homicide,” Graveley said. “It was witnessed by his family and it was witnessed by the children of the neighborhood ... it was a public, egregious crime.”

Wagner gave the defense some additional time to find an expert, but not much. “You are going to have to get that set up very quickly because right now it is speculative,” she said.

She told the two parties to be back in court for a hearing on May 5.


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