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DA: Teen to be treated as adult in murder case

July 23, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - A 15-year-old boy charged in the deaths of two city teenagers will be prosecuted as an adult, Montgomery County District Attorney James "Jed" Conboy said this morning.

The boy, Matthew Phelps, is one of two teenagers charged in the July 9 deaths of Johnathan DeJesus, 13, and Paul Damphier, 16.

Phelps, of the town of Florida, and 16-year-old Anthony Brasmiester of Amsterdam were arraigned Friday morning on one count each of second-degree murder.

According to Conboy, state law normally prevents the names of underage defendants from being released.

"Because Phelps is 15, he cannot be treated as an adult, except for certain innumerated offenses, and murder is one of those innumerated offenses," Conboy said.

According to police, Phelps and Brasmiester took DeJesus and Damphier out to a field off Snooks Corners Road on July 9 near the property of Phelps' grandparents. According to police, DeJesus and Damphier were shot with a rifle and left in the field.

Both bodies were found July 19 after state police and Amsterdam police received information about the case.

After identification was made using dental records, the victims' families were notified.

Phelps and Brasmiester were arrested and arraigned the next day in Florida Town Court.

Conboy said he is waiting to find out the dates for court appearances of the two defendants.

At a news conference Friday, police said the 15-year-old was the primary suspect in the alleged murders. State police spokesman Mark Cepiel said today the 15-year-old is "previously known to law enforcement."

Editor's note: This story has been revised from its original version to clarify the charges on which Phelps and Brasmiester were arraigned Friday. An update will appear in Tuesday's edition.



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