By Mitch Mitchell
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Originally published Oct. 22, 2013
FORT WORTH — The attorneys for a 14-year-old accused of killing his 5-year-old neighbor withdrew a request to bar the public from the trial during a hearing on Tuesday.
The 14-year-old suspect, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, confessed to killing Sida Osman by hitting him twice in the head with a bowling ball while the two boys were in the fenced back yard of a vacant house in the 4800 block of Lois Street.
Osman’s body was found June 26, more than 18 hours after the boy was last seen riding his bicycle in the neighborhood.
Ray Hall, one of the defense attorneys, said the motion was withdrawn because media attention surrounding the case has lessened since the arrest.
During the hearing, the attorney said that he discussed the pros and cons of closing the trial with his client and the boy’s mother and that they decided it would be better to have the trial in open court. The trial is scheduled for Nov. 6.
“It felt like the community has been involved in this right from the start, and it might be better for him to hold the trial out in the open,” Hall said.
The Texas Family Code allows a juvenile court judge to prohibit the public from viewing a trial or hearing of a suspect who is at least 14 if there’s good reason. But the law also says the presumption is that the hearings should be open.
The suspect remains in custody at the Tarrant County juvenile detention center. Brian Willett, who is also representing the teen, said that his client struggled to adjust to confinement but that he is doing the best he can.
“I think he understands the severity of it,” Willett said.
State District Judge Jean Boyd, who presided over Tuesday’s hearing, prohibited the public from attending the hearing of Jose Hernandez in 2011 when she ordered Hernandez to serve out the rest of his 40-year sentence in adult prison.
Boyd ordered Hernandez detained in a Texas Youth Commission facility when he was 16 for the 2009 robbery and severe beating of a pizza deliveryman.
Hernandez admitted luring Fred Rein to a vacant house in October 2009 by ordering a pizza, then striking the 66-year-old man in the head with an aluminum bat so he and his friends could rob him.
The blows caused permanent brain damage.