Dozens of juveniles charged in connection with September riot at Fayette County youth facility

Updated: Nov. 18, 2019 at 6:31 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Dozens of juveniles have now been charged after a riot at a Tennessee youth facility that caused more than $32,000 worth of damage.

In late September, 11 teenagers housed at the Wilder Youth Development Center in Fayette County were charged after an hours-long riot broke out.

On Monday afternoon, WMC Action News 5 learned three more 18 years olds were charged, now bringing the total to 14. Assistant District Attorney Joe Vandyke says about 30 juveniles are also being charged.

"Just remember these are kids. I mean obviously it’s a bad thing and we don’t want this to happen, but I think there’s probably a small group that are very culpable and then a lot of them that are just present by association,” said criminal defense attorney Jere Mason.

Mason’s firm represents two of the 14 18-year-olds. They’re all facing charges including felony vandalism, escape and inciting a riot. Some are being charged with assault.

According to investigators, damage to the facility included broken windows, mirrors and doors. Some damage was caused by youth using cinder blocks to break windows.

On Monday, the teens appeared before a Fayette County judge and attorneys waived their clients’ rights to a preliminary hearing.

"It's kind of the fastest way for us to potentially get our defendants some resolution,” said Mason.

Mason says this may also speed up the process to access evidence in the case.

The grand jury is expected to meet next week. These 14 teens are due back in circuit court Dec. 2. They’re each being held on a $250,000 bond.

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