Indiana boy Paul Gingerich was 12 years old when he and his friend, Colt Lundy, then 15, shot and killed Lundy’s stepfather Phil Danner. Gingerich was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and was initially sent, along with Lundy, to the youth wing of Wabash Correctional Facility. Corrections officials, recognizing the dangers of keeping the 80-pound child in an adult prison, moved Gingerich to Pendleton Juvenile facility.
In a unanimous 3-0 decision announced Tuesday, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Gingerich’s conviction, finding that the Kosciusko County juvenile court did not give defense attorneys enough time to prepare an argument before moving Gingerich to adult court. Despite requests for more time, Gingerich’s attorneys were given four business days; attorneys in nearby Marion county, the Indianapolis star reports, routinely get as much as three months in similar cases.
Gingerich, believed to be the youngest person in Indiana to be sentenced as an adult, will now go back to juvenile court. Attorney Monica Foster, who is handling Gingerich’s case pro-bono, believes the outcome for her client will be better this time around. However, there is still a chance that the juvenile court will once again send Gingerich, now 14, back to adult court.