DES MOINES, Iowa – A judge has ruled that one of the 17-year-old suspects arrested in the deadly shooting outside East High School in March will be moved from a juvenile facility to an adult jail.
The state filed a motion last week to get approval to move Octavio Lopez Sanchez, Jr. because of multiple issues arising from his detention in a local juvenile facility.
Lopez Sanchez is one of 10 defendants charged with first-degree murder and two cases of attempted murder. Fifteen-year-old Jose David Lopez died following the March 7th shooting and two teen girls, Kemery Ortega and Jessica Lopez, were seriously injured.
District judge Coleman McAllister’s ruling stated Lopez Sanchez is being held in the same facility as seven of the co-defendants charged in the case. The judge said that while they do their best it’s “not possible for staff to ensure that the co-defendants are kept out of contact with each other.”
McAllister also highlighted the safety of other juveniles and staff members in the facility as one of the reasons he decided Lopez Sanchez should be moved to an adult jail.
He said the state contends the shooting at East High was gang-related and while in detention Lopez Sanchez has been seen flashing gang signs. Dan Larson, the Program Administrator at the juvenile detention facility, testified that having members of rival gangs held in the facility posed a security threat.
Lopez Sanchez’s behavior inside the facility was also an issue as he allegedly pushed another juvenile and when confronted by a staff member reportedly said he didn’t care about the consequences of his actions.
Another issue brought to light in the ruling is a federal regulation that prohibits the monitoring of mail and phone calls for juveniles while being held in a juvenile detention facility.
Online court records show the judge’s ruling was filed on March 31st. It’s unclear whether Lopez Sanchez has already been moved, but the ruling did say it was likely he would be held in a rural jail.
The state has filed similar motions to have some of the other defendants charged in the shooting moved to adult jails as well but hearings have not been held on those matters yet.