The 10th Judicial District Court has determined that there was probable cause to charge all three people arrested in connection the murder of a teenager earlier this month with first-degree murder, but no formal charges have been filed at this time.
When the charges are filed, however, the prosecuting attorney says the 16-year-old arrested in the case will be charged as an adult
Daylon Manning, Brandon Fields and an as-of-yet publicly unidentified juvenile were all arrested on Jan. 17 and are being detained at the Ashley County Sheriff’s office in connection with the murder of 17-year-old, Josh Couser, whose body was found on Ashley 16 with several apparent gunshot wounds the previous day.
Tenth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen said on Tuesday that he had not yet received the file on the three suspects and therefore his office has not yet made the decision on what to charge the suspects with.
When the three went for their probable cause hearings last week Judge Bynum Gibson determined that there was enough evidence to hold them all for capital murder, however, Deen said that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been charged with it.
“I see in the media all of the time that police charge with burglary, or theft, or whatever the case may be, but that is incorrect,” Deen said.
“A grand jury can charge someone and a prosecutor can charge someone, but the police can not charge someone, they can only arrest them.”
The probable cause hearing is strictly for those who are arrested without a warrant.
“When someone is arrested with a warrant, we know we can hold them, but when they are arrested in situations like these, a judge has to determine if there is probable cause to hold them,” Deen said.
Once all of the evidence is collected and submitted to Deen’s office, he will then make the decision and file formal charges by sending a criminal information sheet to the Ashley County clerk’s office.
At that point, a judge will be drawn through a number system and the case will be assigned a number and future court dates will be determined. However, at this time none of that has been filed.
The three suspects are currently being held at the Ashley County Sheriff’s Office without bond until their charges can be determined.
Deen did, however, confirm that the 16-year old juvenile will be charged as an adult when the time comes.
“That decision has been made and he will be charged as an adult,” Deen said. “We just haven’t determined what those charges will be yet.”