KINGMAN – Trial has been scheduled next spring after local attorneys informed the Court that they’ve been unable to reach an acceptable plea agreement in the adult prosecution of a Kingman teenager charged in the deaths and injuries of fellow Lee Williams High School student athletes.
Defense attorney Brad Rideout rejected separate state offers to resolve the case against Brady Shuffler in a plea deal subjecting the 16-year-old to a mandatory 16-year sentence or allowing Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle to select from a 16- to 24-year prison range.
Carlisle scheduled Shuffler’s trial to start April 29 next year after noting that possible maximum prison punishment would total 82.5 years if the defendant were convicted of all charges. Rideout and prosecutor James Schoppmann told the Court that the trial should take five to eight days to complete.
Shuffler faces to second-degree murder charges associated with the April 13 deaths of Tatum Meins, 17,and Sherene “Siri” Walema, 15. Serious injuries to two surviving teenagers bring aggravated assault and other counts with Shuffler accused of speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour before losing control and rolling the vehicle he was operating with marijuana in his system.
Judge Carlisle determined that Shuffler violated conditions of his release while awaiting trial by consuming alcohol. Mohave County Probation pre-trial services officer Lisa Ruokis testified she confronted Shuffler that a Nov. 11 test was positive for alcohol.
“I informed him that he tested positive for alcohol and asked him if there was anything that he did that could have caused this positive test,” Ruokis said. “He basically denied using alcohol.”
Judge Carlisle was not convinced by suggestion the positive test might have resulted from a food topping or brandy from a fancy flaming desert.
“The Court finds that the state has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated his release conditions in this case,” the judge said. “I don’t find that the alcohol that he tested positive for was the result of having vodka sauce on his pasta or some other explanation for alcohol, especially not vodka sauce.”
Meins’ father, mother and step-mother said that the alcohol violation illustrates the defendant’s blatant disregard for human life and the threat he poses to the community. Rideout noted that Shuffler failed just one of more than 18 tests for substance abuse and violated no other terms of his release conditions.
Judge Carlisle declined requests to arrest Shuffler and set bond at $50,000. Alternatively, he ordered that Shuffler submit to more frequent testing and that there be increased contact and monitoring through pre-trial service protocols.