Wylie East student group wants juvenile murder suspects tried as adults

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM

WYLIE -- It is a message students at Wylie East High School are hoping everyone sees: A non-profit group made up of students - called Students of Change - put up blue ribbons surrounding the school campus.

“It’s in honor of Ivan, and in honor of Nahum, as well,” said Brooke Lopez, president of the non-profit.

Ivan Mejia, 17, was found choked to death on Saturday night. And police say two of his classmates were behind the murder.

It was the second time in two years a student at the school has allegedly died at the hands of a juvenile suspect or suspects.

Nahum Martinez, a Wylie East High School track-and-field runner, was shot in the head on March 31, 2012. His killer pushed his body from a second-floor window of the home, and then tried to hide Martinez in a storm drain.

Now, almost exactly two years later, the campus is again gripped by grief.

The fates of two 16-year-old classmates charged in Mejia’s murder, Brenden Bridges and Adam Staup, are now in the hands of a judge.

“I believe the DA’s office will probably make that decision that they’re going to push for a transfer of venue,” said Plano attorney Todd Shapiro.

Shapiro said it’s very possible the 16-year-old juniors will be tried as adults.

Coincidentally, Brooke Lopez and her colleagues at Students Of Change are writing up a law to make that automatic. They are drafting a law in honor of Ivan Mejia that would say minors charged with murder must be tried as adults.

“They were good children,” Lopez said, referring to the suspects in Mejia's murder. “But they committed this act, and I no longer see them as children. I see them as adults.”

The group has already written "Nahum’s Law," which would keep minors charged with firearm offenses from having the charges expunged to keep them from buying guns later in life.

Local state representative Jodie Laubenberg said she would read Nahum's Law and consider whether she will fight for it.

In the Mejia case, it would take the DA’s motion and a judge’s approval for the two suspects to be tried as adults.

“Crimes against persons - murders, rapes, robberies, violent offenses - are given much more weight to transfer [the trial's venue] as opposed to property offenses,” Shapiro said.

Brooke Lopez knows it may take time for the message to reach Austin. But that doesn’t mean it’s not loud and clear in the city of Wylie.

Memorial services for Mejia are scheduled for Friday.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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