Teenager Charged as Adult, Not Treated as One

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email
A memorial concert is scheduled for Saturday at 5pm at the West Street Market in downtown Reno for Steven Gale, killed in last weekend

13-year-old Jose Cruz

RENO, NV - A 13-year-old boy is being charged as an adult for murder, but a judge ruled on Friday that Jose Cruz will not be locked up with adults.

He has a baby face that stood out at the Washoe County Jail. Especially when Jose Cruz was arraigned there by video Friday morning. But hours later, a judge decided the teenager won't be staying at the jail, but will be moved to the Jan Evans Juvenile Justice Center.

"We'll house him and treat him the same as we do any juvenile at this facility," says Frank Cervantes, division director of juvenile services at Jan Evans.

Cruz, along with three adults, is charged with murder and robbery in connection with a three-hour crime spree that started last Saturday. It spanned from Carson City to Reno and ended on California Avenue when Steven Gale was shot and killed.

Washoe County Chief Deputy District Attorney Karl Hall says, at 13 years old, Cruz is the youngest person he's ever prosecuted for murder.

"If we had a position, we would prefer he be treated at the Washoe County jail as he's being treated as an adult by virtue of murder charges," says Hall.

But Washoe County Sheriffs authorities who asked to move him out of the jail say it's in Cruz's best interest to keep him with others his age.

"Concerns are he's a 13 year old child and we are not equipped to keep him separated from adults that are incarcerated at our detention facility," says Lisa Haney, Washoe County Assistant Sheriff.

Because those are the rules at the jail. And though Cruz is charged as an adult, it's clear from his mug shot, he's still just a little boy.

Police say Jose Cruz was also shot in the hand during the robbery attempt that killed Steven Gale. They still have not found the weapon, which is a 45-caliber handgun.


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