|Updated: 1/17/2012 9:09 pm
||Published: 1/17/2012 10:31 am
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (AP) - A 15-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting his older sister at their western Arkansas home was being held on a $750,000 bond after an initial court appearance Tuesday, though formal murder charges haven't been filed, the local prosecutor said.
Prosecutor David Gibbons says he plans to charge the boy as an adult "because of the nature of the crime." The boy hasn't been identified because of his age, and his court hearing was closed to the public. The judge even forced the boy's aunt and uncle out of the courtroom, leaving the boy to stand alone before the judge, Gibbons said. He was appointed a public defender, and his next court date is March 1.
Authorities said the boy showed up at the local sheriff's department on Sunday morning and told investigators he had shot and killed his sister at their home near Ozark, a town of about 3,600 people roughly 120 miles northwest of Little Rock. Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen said Tuesday that authorities were still awaiting preliminary autopsy results.
Boen said the boy appeared remorseful and had tears in his eyes when he turned himself in.
"He just said that he had just shot and killed his sister," Boen said. "He didn't give a motive."
The teen likely killed his sister sometime after 8 a.m. Sunday, when his parents left to go grocery shopping in Fort Smith, about 40 miles away, Boen said. The boy presented himself to the sheriff's department about 90 minutes later.
Investigators confiscated multiple guns from the family's home and vehicle, and were trying to determine which weapon had been used in the shooting. The sheriff said the boy and his father were avid hunters.
Grief counselors were on hand Tuesday at Ozark High School, where the siblings were students. A wreath with flowers in the school's colors, purple and gold, hung at the end of a long gravel driveway leading to the family's home.
A young man who came out of the house said the family wasn't ready to talk about what happened. He, along with an older woman who stood silently at his side, declined to give their names but said he was related to the siblings.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)