10/11/2011

No bail for teen charged in slaying


The 15-year-old charged with killing his father and stepmother last week will remain in custody as officials determine who will become his legal guardian.
The teen, whose attorney has said was abused since infancy, appeared in Mecklenburg juvenile court Thursday for a detention hearing, a court proceeding held on a regular basis for children being held in custody.
Early Sept. 26, the teen called 911, saying he'd shot his father, Christian Hans Liewald, 43, and stepmother, Cassie Meghan Buckaloo, 24, police said.
When officers arrived at his home on Buxton Street in southwest Mecklenburg, they found the couple dead from what prosecutors have described as an "ambush" attack that was part of the teen's plan to run away.
He's charged with two counts of murder, armed robbery and attempted auto theft. The Observer is not naming him because the case remains in juvenile court.
His attorney, Valerie Pearce, said last week he is a battered child who was controlled and manipulated by his father.
Since the killings, three of Liewald's ex-wives have told the Observer that he was violent and abusive. One said Liewald whipped his son with a belt.
In Thursday's hearing, District Court Judge Louis Trosch said the question of who will be the teen's legal guardian must be answered before future hearings.
After a custody battle that began in 1998, Liewald was granted full custody of his son when a court determined the boy's mother, Shelby Hodges, had not complied with an order to undergo a psychiatric evaluation following three "suicide gestures or attempts," records show. Hodges, who argued she couldn't afford such an evaluation, was given supervised visitation rights.
Until her son arrived in court last week, she hadn't seen him in nearly 10 years. Hodges told the Observer she was terrified of Liewald.
The state could petition to become the teen's legal guardian, or the existing custody order could be changed to give custody to Hodges or other relatives.
In court last week, prosecutors revealed he had been grounded and decided to run away to Mexico. But he felt he wouldn't succeed unless he killed his father, a prosecutor said, so he put on a tactical vest, gathered guns and then shot his father and stepmother as they arrived home. The teen could be prosecuted as an adult.
The teen's attorney asked Thursday that he be released with an electronic monitor to his paternal grandparents. A prosecutor, noting concerns that he might flee, said he should remain in custody.
Trosch ruled that he will remain in juvenile detention.
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