Bonaire teen charged with murder of another teen pleads not guilty
Three felony charges are expected to be dropped, but murder charges remain against a Bonaire teenager accused of shooting another teen.
A Houston County grand jury Tuesday re-indicted 14-year-old Kaden Chase Barefoot on two counts of felony murder, and one count each of malice murder, aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery.
The new indictment replaces the original, December indictment that included one count each of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, theft by receiving a stolen firearm and possession of hydrocodone. Also, the wording of the aggravated assault charge was changed to omit “with a deadly weapon.”
The original indictment will be dismissed, according to a filing from the head prosecutor included in the Houston County Superior Court file.
District Attorney George Hartwig said those charges are being dropped to “streamline” the case to focus on the murder charges.
“I just decided I didn’t want to have any other charges than what the case is about,” Hartwig said.
Gregory Bushway, one of Barefoot’s Macon attorneys, could not be reached for comment.
Barefoot, who is being tried as an adult, is accused of shooting 16-year-old Ryan Skeen once in the neck in an attempt to rob him of an undisclosed amount of marijuana Oct. 26.
Skeen was found shot in the driveway of his Franklin Square home and died Oct. 28 at the Medical Center, Navicent Health. An armed Barefoot had ridden his bicycle over to Skeen’s home, the indictment said.
A Houston County sheriff’s deputy saw a bicycle matching the description of the one ridden by the alleged shooter in Barefoot’s garage, according to a defense motion. The motion challenges authorities having questioned the minor Barefoot three times without an attorney present.
Barefoot is expected to go on trial Oct. 24 in Houston County Superior Court. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in February.
“A not guilty plea means that he’s going to contest the charges,” Bushway said after that plea hearing. “The state has the burden of proof of proving beyond reasonable doubt, which is the highest burden under the law in the state of the Georgia, that he is guilty of each and every one of these crimes.”
Barefoot is being held without bond at the Crisp County Regional Youth Detention Center.