San Jose teens charged as adults in stabbing

November 17, 2009 6:40:13 PM PST
Two San Jose teenagers accused of murdering a classmate made their first court appearance Tuesday.

Sixteen-year-old Randy Thompson and 15-year-old Jae Williams appeared in court for the first time since their arrest on Friday. Both have been charged with the murder of fellow Santa Teresa High School student Mike Russell. Russell was found stabbed to death in the yard of his home on Comanche Drive one week ago.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr said the juveniles will be tried as adults.

"What we do essentially is balance the juvenile court's emphasis on rehabilitation of the juveniles, versus the public safety and safety of the community aspect," she said.

Carr accuses both Williams and Thompson of using knives to kill their 15-year-old schoolmate, but says she has no idea what the motive might have been.

Williams and Thompson had MySpace pages that made references to violence, drugs and Satan.

Thomas Plante, a clinical psychologist and Santa Clara University professor, said those references alone would not be as strong a predictor of violent behavior as bullying or other anti-social behavior.

"People are putting what we call free associations, the first things that come on their mind, on Facebook and MySpace, whether they believe it or not, it might be what they think about in the moment and we don't know the other influences that are involved," he said.

Plante said other influences might include alcohol or drugs.

So far, investigators are not saying publicly whether they were contributing factors to Russell's murder.

Thompson and Williams scanned the courtroom for family and friends Tuesday. If they spotted any, their faces showed no connection.

Outside the Hall of Justice, the Russell's uncle and members of the Williams and Thompson families would not talk to reporters.

Randy Thompson and Jae Williams will be held without bail in juvenile hall until their next court appearance on December 2.


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