Grace Ross murder suspect being tried as an adult
The prosecution has pushed to have the 15-year-old Anthony Hutchens waived up to adult court because of the nature of his crimes, that include charges of felony murder and molestation of Ross.
Hutchens was charged in probate court with two counts of murder and one count of child molesting. Charges will now be filed in Superior Court. The two counts of murder are for murdering "the same individual in two separate ways."
If convicted, Hutchens could be sentenced to 45-65 years in prison for the murder charge and 3 -16 for the molesting charge.
Hutchens has been transferred from the Juvenile Justice Center to the St. Joseph County Jail.
There were two hearings on the state's motion to waive to adult court - on February 23 and March 3.
It was revealed Hutchens has Autism Spectrum Disorder and he functions at a lower level than his peers. Hutchens has rejected attempts at interventions for his condition, the court said, so his disorder is not sufficient to keep him in the juvenile justice system.
While considering the petition, the court found there was not necessarily premeditation in the crime, but deliberation. Hutchens took steps to hide his bloody clothes.
Another consideration for moving the case to adult court is Hutchens’ risk of reoffending in the future. Two doctors recommended against waiving to adult court.
The court found the juvenile court could not punish a serious crime in a serious manner in the few short years Hutchens would spend in juvenile court. The court found he deserves a more severe punishment than the juvenile court can impose.
Scroll down to read the full court order waiving Hutchens to adult court
Court documents filed after her murder said the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit was alerted to the discovery of a 6-year-old girl's body in New Carlisle around 8 p.m. on March 12, 2021.
After Ross' body was found, a woman took the suspect to investigators and said he had seen the girl in the woods.
Hutchens, then 14-years-old, was interviewed by investigators.
Hutchens said Ross had followed him into the woods and he wandered around and lost track of her.
He told investigators a shadow man had controlled his hands and made him strangle Ross, reports said.
He said he felt her soul/spirit leave her body, then checked to make sure she was dead, reports said.
The suspect ran to his apartment and washed blood off his hands, then took a shower, reports said.
The juvenile did not explain why Ross was naked.