One of three teens accused of kidnapping an elderly Kennewick woman, stashing her in the trunk of her own car and driving her to Oregon will not be tried as an adult.
On Thursday, Benton County prosecutors withdrew a petition to have KateLynn Kenfield’s case moved to Superior Court after court officials, juvenile probation officers, investigators and the victim, Hazel Abel, agreed she should stay in the juvenile court system.
Her attorney, Deric Orr, argued the teen was a lesser participant in the crime and was in a “pretty abusive” relationship with one of the alleged assailants, Billy Underwood. She was 14 at the time of the kidnapping Nov. 2.
Defense attorney Deric Orr argued the girl was a lesser participant in the crime and was in a “pretty abusive” relationship with one of the alleged assailants.
Kenfield was officially charged Thursday in juvenile court with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and car theft, the same charges faced by Underwood, 15, and Dyllan Martin, 16. Their cases were previously moved to adult court.
At the prompting of her attorney, the girl softly said “not guilty” when asked for her plea on each count. Orr said Kenfield’s mother was ill, and no other relatives or friends were there on her behalf.
Kenfield remains in custody at the Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Center. Her trial is expected to take two days starting Feb. 1.
She allegedly accompanied Martin and Underwood when the duo confronted Martin’s great-grandmother, Abel, 86, at her home on South Skagit Avenue.
The boys allegedly conceived the plan to steal Abel’s car as long as three weeks before the attack as part of a plan to run away, said officials.
Martin reportedly threw dirt in the elderly woman’s face when she opened the door. She was bound and placed of the trunk in her car with her dog, according to court documents.
The boys allegedly discussed killing Abel or possibly leaving her in a remote spot to die of exposure or to burn her in her car.
Abel escaped to safety when she broke free of her restraints and unlatched the trunk when the car stopped at a Portland-area Walmart store. The teens were arrested a few hours later.