The Kenosha County District Attorney’s office is seeking to have a 15-year-old boy charged as an adult in the shooting death Saturday of his cousin Sean Bialas.
At a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Assistant District Attorney Tricia Riley said the state would ask the court at a hearing April 24 to move charges against the boy into adult court. The petition filed against him juvenile court charges him with homicide by negligent use of a dangerous weapon, possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor and obstructing police.
Until the court decides whether to charge the boy as an adult, he will remain in juvenile custody.
Family members have characterized the shooting as an accident, saying the 15-year-old was handling the gun in Sean’s apartment in the 3600 block of 48th Street when it went off, the bullet striking Bialas in the head, killing him.
According to past statements in court, the boy initially told police he was not holding the gun, but later changed his story.
Bialas used a wheelchair because he was paralyzed from the chest down after an incident at the Kenosha County Detention Center during which he struggled with guards attempting to put him in a restraint chair.
Family members said Bialas asked for a gun because he was spooked when the homes of friends and family had been targeted with gunfire the previous day.
“Sean wanted his gun because he was scared,” his mother Karen Bialas said.
At a vigil on Tuesday, Karen said she wanted justice for her son and hoped the 15-year-old would be criminally charged. But on Wednesday, after spending the day planning a funeral and trying to clean out Sean’s apartment, she wasn’t so sure.
“I don’t know (what she wants to happen), I honestly don’t even know,” she said. “It’s even worse because it’s his cousin.”
According to Karen, Sean had a tough life from the beginning.
Just days after he was born when Karen was 19 years old, Sean was diagnosed with neonatal diabetes. His condition was so unstable, she said, doctors told he might not survive, and he was given last rites.
Twenty-one years to the day of that frightening episode, she said, “we were back in another ICU unit.”
In November 2014, Sean was arrested on a misdemeanor charge and was being held in the detention center. He was on suicide watch.
A group of correctional officers went into Bialas’ cell for “an extraction” after he threatened to harm himself. During that process, Bialas’ spine was injured, leaving him permanently paralyzed.
Karen said after his injury Sean lived for a time in a nursing home, then moved into the one-bedroom apartment she shared with her daughter, She and her 19-year-old daughter shared in his care.
“He was depressed. He was depressed a lot,” she said.
She said he tried to get stronger by using a weight machine and by using a manual wheelchair
“He would sit in the middle of the street and would roll himself up and down the street,” she said. “He tried to keep strong and move forward.”
But often, she said, he would spend a week without getting out of bed.
On Feb. 1, he moved into his own apartment.
Karen said she was opposed to the idea. “But everybody wanted to listen to Sean and do what Sean wants because he had a mind and a voice, and you wanted to honor what he wants,” she said. “He just wanted to be a grown-ass man.”
He died 10 days after moving into his apartment.