West point teens face capital murder charge: Understanding bond process

OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- Prosecutors and investigators are still building the case involving four teenage suspects charged with capital murder.

The teens are accused of killing 41-year-old Mikel Craven in Clay County. All four remain in the Clay County Detention Center.

For juvenile cases, a judge will not only review the type of charge.

They will also review any other criminal offenses the suspect may have been involved with.

41-year-old Mikel Craven was found lying in a ditch near the Pine Grove Road intersection with gunshot wounds. Craven later died in the hospital.

On Wednesday, Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott told WCBI there is no bond for 19-year-old Emerson Stone Houston, 17-year-old William Austin Hill, and 17-year-old Greyson Klutts.

15-year-old Jeremy Klutts has a $75,000 bond. He is required to wear an ankle monitor.

“Our investigators worked around the clock. It was a lot of hard investigating, but we were able to bring this thing to closure. We did receive some good tips and information from the community. It’s just that one little thing that may not seem like much. A lot of times, it’ll help make a case,” said Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott.

All four are charged as adults.

WCBI asked attorney Jeff Hosford of Hosford Law Firm, what goes into charging minors as adults, and what judges consider when they set bonds?

“Anyone over the age of 13 who commits an offense regarding life or the death penalty is eligible to be charged as an adult. The severity of the charge is one of the main factors, and this being the most severe charge may limit their ability to bond at all. That’s up to the court. It’s up to the motions filed by the lawyers and prosecutors,” said Hosford.

Hosford said the court must determine if the defendant is a threat to the community and review other isolated incidents.

“Whether it’s something that can be continued as an ongoing trial or lead to other charges. The common denominator of anybody charged with the crime are they from the area? Are there contacts in the area? Are there people that will ensure they will show up to court? Those things are brought into consideration when setting bond,” said Hosford.

In October of 2021, 17-year-old William Austin Hill was charged with attempted murder for stabbing another person.

Hosford said that investigation and charges won’t be included in the trial.

“From the United States Supreme Court, anyone 15 or younger can not face the death penalty. But, anyone over the age of 15 can face the death penalty in the United States. When someone is charged with these crimes, there are certain things you have to go through for the state to prosecute you,” said Hosford.

Hill, Houston, and Greyson Klutts will be in court for a preliminary hearing on May 19th.

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