ONLY ON 13: Fort Ann teen accused of fatally shooting 14-year-old rejects plea deal

Man accused of killing 14-year-old boy rejects plea deal

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The Fort Ann teen accused of shooting and killing a 14-year-old boy at his home last year has rejected a plea offer in the case.

Jaden Walden, 18, appeared in Washington County Court on Friday. Walden allegedly caused the death of Rycky Stark Jr. on Aug. 16. Walden was with a group of teens when he pointed the shotgun in Stark’s direction, not realizing it was loaded, police said. The gun fired and struck Stark in the abdomen. He was taken to Glens Falls Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators have said the shooting was not intentional.

Walden has been charged with manslaughter, reckless endangerment, assault and sexual misconduct. The last charge is related to allegedly having sexual relations with the 13-year-old girl who was inside the apartment. In New York, 13 is too young to legally consent.

Prosecutors have offered a deal that would required a guilty plea in exchange for a sentence that could be in the range of 6 months in jail and 5 years of probation to 3 1/2 to 10 years in prison.

Supervising Assistant Public Defender Dustin Bruhns said his client is not interested in the deal.

“At this point, I don’t think he’s going to go forward on the plea,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Devin Anderson said the offer was extended on Jan. 11.

“We’ve provided the defendant every opportunity. If it is not taken today, it will be off the table,” he said.

Bruhns said he is concerned with the large range of potential jail time his client could face. He said his client had a counteroffer of 2 to 6 years in prison that was rejected.

Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors asked Judge Adam Michelini to consider remanding Walden to jail.

Anderson said that prosecutors understand that the defendant potentially could face charges in Warren County for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Bruhns said there have been no charges brought in that case and it should have any bearing on this one.  

Another issue, according to Anderson, is Walden has violated court orders to stay off social media. He tried to contact the sister of the victim and also has used social media to arrange dates.

Bruhns said he has shown up to court dates and he turned himself in on the violation of social media.  

Walden has made his weekly probation visits.

Michelini ruled that Walden can remain free. If there is an indictment in the case, he may revisit the issue.

The case is likely heading toward an indictment.  

Rycky Stark Jr.