Sioux Falls, SD
Should he be tried as an adult or a juvenile? That's the question for Sioux Falls Judge Brad Zell after a two-day hearing for 18-year-old confessed-killer Trevor Kruthoff.
Kruthoff was 17 years old when he pulled the trigger and killed 20-year-old Jordan LeBeau and wounded his father Jason during an attempted robbery. Kruthoff went along with his best-friend and Watertown High School classmate 18-year-old Brian Anderson to rob LeBeau in December.
Police say LeBeau was a marijuana dealer and his other drug dealing friends recruited Kruthoff and Anderson to rob him. LeBeau's father said Friday afternoon that he didn't know his son was a drug dealer but he does know Kruthoff pulled the trigger.
"When you got in there did you say anything?" Deputy Minnehaha County State's Attorney Randy Sample asked LeBeau Friday.
"Yeah, I said what the (expletive) is going on," Jason LeBeau responded.
Jason LeBeau had just got home from work on December 2 when he noticed a man in the basement holding a gun. LeBeau ran downstairs and walked in on Kruthoff and 18-year-old Brian Anderson beating his son during the attempted robbery.
"At that point I turn around and the other gentlemen, Brian Anderson, was down there and I took a step toward him and I hit him twice," Jason LeBeau said.
Police say Anderson and Kruthoff were recruited by LeBeau's pot-dealing friends to steal money from LeBeau. Jason LeBeau says during the fight Kruthoff shot him after Anderson yelled to pull the trigger.
"When he says, 'shoot him,' in the back of my mind I'm thinking he's got a gun and then by the time I turn around the gun is already there," LeBeau said.
Jason LeBeau says Kruthoff shot him and when he fell to the ground and that's when he heard a second shot.
"I’m lying face down on the ground. I'm looking at the bottom of the washer in that little space between the washer and dryer and I see my son coming down and I hear him go - umpf," Jason LeBeau describes.
Defense attorney Jeff Larson says the only reason Kruthoff pulled the trigger was because Anderson told him to do it. Larson describes Kruthoff as a 17-year-old kid who got in over his head with a group of Sioux Falls drug dealers.
"We know Trevor pulled the trigger. We know it's not self-defense. We know before the first shot someone said shoot him that was a very good friend of his who he looked up to and followed like a puppy," Larson said.
And now it will be up to a judge to decide if Kruthoff was a kid caught with the wrong crowd - or should face up to life in prison as an adult.
Judge Brad Zell says he will issue a written decision later. If Kruthoff is prosecuted as an juvenile he will be released from custody when he is 21.