Reynoldsburg News

Teen will be tried as an adult on murder charges

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Blacklick resident Adrian McGee, 17, will be tried as an adult on charges of aggravated murder and murder in the death of an 18-year-old Reynoldsburg woman.

Licking County Prosecutor Ken Oswalt said he will argue that McGee also should be tried as an adult on the remaining charges against him of rape, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

A Licking County Juvenile Court judge found probable cause for all charges against McGee during a four-hour hearing Friday, Dec. 13.

McGee is charged in the death of Danielle Michaels, whose nude body was found behind the Summit Road campus of Reynoldsburg High School Nov. 18.

Oswalt said the next step in the process concerns an amenability hearing in 30 to 40 days that will determine if McGee can be rehabilitated within the juvenile court system if he is convicted of the remaining charges against him.

He said the aggravated murder and murder charges automatically require McGee to be charged as an adult.

"I will advocate that it makes no sense to keep those charges in juvenile court because he would be unable to be rehabilitated in the juvenile system if he is in the adult system for the murder and aggravated murder charges," Oswalt said.

"We presented seven witnesses and 30 to 40 items of documentary evidence and photographs," he said of the Dec. 13 hearing. "After witness testimony, the court agreed there was probable cause for all five charges."

Oswalt said last week he expects a grand jury to return an indictment against McGee within 10 days of the hearing.

Reynoldsburg Police Chief Jim O'Neill said McGee told investigators Michaels had been with him and other friends Saturday, Nov. 16, smoking marijuana in Pine Quarry Park. He said evidence found at the scene indicated Michaels was killed that night in the area near the Summit Road high school campus.

Licking County Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Lee testified at the Dec. 13 hearing that although Michaels had severe knife wounds in her throat and abdomen, neither wound was fatal and the cause of death was suffocation.

He described the knife wound to Michaels' throat as a "one-in-a-million type of wound, "in that it missed every major artery and the trachea by millimeters. He said the injury "would have easily been sutured and patched up in an emergency room." The gash in Michaels' forearm occurred after her death, Lee said.

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation forensics experts testified that Michaels' blood was found on a knife in McGee's home, on the passenger seat of his truck and in a wooded area where her clothes were found.

The experts also testified that DNA found on Michaels matched McGee.

Lee said scrapes on Michaels' body indicated she might have had sex in the woods and then was dragged out near the school's softball diamond. Bruising on her knees, he said, indicated she had attempted to crawl.

On cross-examination by McGee's attorney, Ruthellen Weaver, Lee said he could not rule out the possibility that the sex was consensual.

A state law amended in September requires that McGee remain in the Multi-County Juvenile Detention Center in Lancaster instead of the Licking County jail.

As a minor, McGee can't face either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Oswalt praised Reynoldsburg detectives for their work on the case.

"The Reynoldsburg police department, from the first officer on the scene up to the detectives investigating and completing forensics, has done an excellent job," he said. "The ones that testified in court also did a very good job."

Columbus Dispatch reporter Eric Lyttle contributed to this story.

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