IM this article to a friend!

May 30, 2003

16-year-old may be tried as adult in Akron slaying, assaults

From: Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH - May 30, 2003

Karen Farkas Plain Dealer Reporter

Akron- A 16-year-old deaf youth, who his lawyer said functions at the level of a 5-year-old, probably will be tried as an adult in the slaying of a woman and attacks on two others.

He was arraigned yesterday in Summit County Juvenile Court in the Oct. 5, 2001, killing of Jean Zienka.

Zienka, 45, was found strangled in her home on Akers Avenue. She had bruises around her chin, jaw and shoulders.

As a court-appointed sign-language interpreter explained the charges of delinquency by reason of aggravated murder and rape, the youth did not understand what aggravated murder was. When it was described, he blurted "No," as Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio said he did not have to comment. He denied the charges.

He also is charged with an attempted rape and abduction on Oct. 15, 2001, and an attempted aggravated murder, felonious assault and rape Nov. 21, 2002. He was arrested in March on a voyeurism charge, and DNA testing led to the other charges, police said.

Teodosio will hold a hearing July 18. If she determines there is probable cause the youth committed the crimes, he will be sent to adult court because he was 16 during the 2002 offense, said Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Tim Corley.

Corley added that charges in the 2001 cases would be bound over with the 2002 case.

The youth's lawyer, Annette Powers, said she will ask for a competency hearing with experts in people with hearing impairments. "It is clear that my client is incompetent to understand and to help me assist him," she said. Competency can be addressed once it is determined which court will try his case, Teodosio said.

© 2003 The Plain Dealer.