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Special judge will determine if teens accused of assault State Rep. will be tried as adults


It could be as long as six weeks before the two Whitley County High School students charged with assaulting teacher Dewayne Bunch know if they will be tried as adults.

Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell said at a hearing Tuesday, Judge Cathy Prewitt recused herself from the case involving Dewayne Cox and Trevor Canada.

Once the special judge is appointed, Harrell said there will be a hearing to determine whether the juveniles should be tried as adults.

Harrell noted the hearing is similar to the preliminary hearing held in district court cases for defendants charged with felonies to determine if the case should be presented to a grand jury.

Because the Whitley County Grand Jury meets the first Monday of each month, by the time the new judge is selected Harrell said it will likely be September before the grand jury gets the case.

After being held at the juvenile detention facility in Breathitt County since their arrest, Cox and Canada are back at home on home incarceration.

Though cases in which juveniles are tried as adults typically involve murder, Kentucky Law allows for juveniles to be tried as adults if the charge is a class A or B felony.

Harrell said previously that based on the evidence it appears Cox and Canada could each be charged with first-degree assault, a class B felony which carries a potential jail sentence of 10 to 20 years.

The fight occurred April 12 in the lunchroom at Whitley County High School.

When Bunch tried to break up the fight. Harrell said previously that Bunch was hit when he literally walked into a punch thrown by one of the juveniles.

Bunch is in Georgia where he is undergoing physical therapy.

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