WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — The 17-year-old boy charged as an adult in connection to the murder of Farrell man appeared in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for his arraignment Wednesday.
Gavin Roberts pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. His bond was increased to $1 million.
Roberts is accused of killing 37-year-old Brice Hilton, of Farrell, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 19 during what police described as the arranged sale of a cell phone in Warren.
Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker says if Roberts is convicted, he will be eligible for parole after 25 years no matter what under the state’s current law.
“The problem, of course, is the Ohio legislature ‘gave away the farm’ to juvenile murderers a few years ago, when they have now allowed juvenile murderers to get parole eligibility after 25 years no matter what,” Becker said. “I’m working with various groups to try to get that law repealed and taken back to the way it was, when we had really some good law enforcement penalties on the books and we weren’t giving away store to some of those juvenile murderers.”
Judge Cynthia Westcott Rice set a condition that Roberts be on house arrest with electronic monitoring should he post bond.
Roberts was due back in court May 17 but the appearance was pushed back to May 22 so his attorney can go over a few things with him before scheduling a trial date.