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York shooter avoids trial, case moved to juvenile court
A York City teen who fired a gun in the direction of a young woman has been given a second chance to prove he can be a responsible member of society.
Attorneys for 15-year-old Alezea M. Pagan succeeded in having his adult criminal charges moved to juvenile court, where the focus is on rehabilitation, not punishment.
Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn granted the request on Tuesday, according to court records.
But before that happened, Pagan spent four months sitting in York County Prison, defense attorney Ron Gross said.
"The four months in jail? That was great," Gross said. "It's probably just what the doctor ordered."
In addition to scaring the teen, it also helped him gain some perspective, according to his attorney.
"He realized the only people who are there for him are his mom and stepdad, and that he needs to be a role model for his younger brother," Gross said. "I think we caught him at the right time (to fully rehabilitate him)."
Pagan understands the severity of his actions, according to his attorney.
Missed by inches: York City Police said Pagan missed by only 4 inches when he pointed a handgun at his then-girlfriend and pulled the trigger on Aug. 20.
Pagan, of West Philadelphia Street, was charged as an adult with attempted murder, aggravated assault, burglary, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, possession of a firearm by a minor, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.
No one was injured, police said, but the bullet went into the attached home next door and caused damage.
It happened in a home in the 800 block of Fahs Street during an argument between Pagan and his then-girlfriend, who was 14 at the time, police said.
A resident of the home ordered Pagan to leave, but he came back in, pointed the gun at the girl and fired, missing her by inches, according to police.
Gross said Pagan wasn't trying to shoot the girl but did intend to shoot "in her general direction."
"It was such a poor choice," he said. "He feels so awful."
Not a gang member: Prosecutors did not oppose the defense request to move Pagan's case to juvenile court, and the York County Adult Probation office recommended it, according to Gross.
"This young man is not affiliated with any gangs," Gross said. "He was really just acting out of emotion."
Pagan will now return to high school, but otherwise he will remain on house arrest and also must undergo counseling, his attorney said.
The teen stayed caught up on his 10th-grade curriculum while sitting in prison, and he is focused on graduating, getting a job and perhaps playing an organized sport, Gross said.
Pagan's case has not yet been adjudicated in juvenile court. In Pennsylvania, adult defendants are convicted of crimes, but juvenile defendants are "adjudicated delinquent" of crimes.
Another big factor in Pagan's favor is that his juvenile probation officer is committed to helping the teen reform, Gross said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.