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Prosecutors seek to try teens who killed retired college provost as adults

Three teens charged in a crime spree that ended with the killing of a recently retired college provost last month should be tried as adults, a Charleston, South Carolina, solicitor argued Monday in court, the Charleston Post and Courier said.

Tom DiLorenzo, 63, was walking with his wife, recently appointed College of Charleston provost Suzanne Austin, at about 6:15 a.m. on July 17 when they were approached by of the teens, one carrying a gun, who demanded money, as CrimeOnline previously reported. In the ensuing chaos, DiLorenzo — who retired as provost of the University of North Dakota just six weeks earlier — was shot. He died at the Medical University of South Carolina at about 7 a.m.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said the community is “best served by trying them as adults,” noting that she had carefully studied the case and the defendants’ histories, according to the Post and Courier. The boys were not named, as their cases are still in family court.

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The Charleston police investigation said that the three teens traveled from North Charleston to downtown Charleston in a stolen car on the morning of July 17. Two of them — ages 15 and 16 — held a 74-year-old woman at gunpoint and demanded money at about 5:45 a.m. They fled in the car and were dropped off a few blocks away, where, police said, they robbed a 20-year-old construction worker on his way to his job site.

The same two next approached DiLorenzo and Austin, holding them at gunpoint and demanding money, eventually shooting DiLorenzo. The boys again fled in the waiting car.

Austin was not injured in the incident. Police arrested the two boys who they say perpetrated the robbery later that night and the driver later in July.

All three of the teens have been charged with murder, armed robbery, three counts of attempted armed robbery, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. One of them has also been charged with two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

The Post and Courier said the court has to consider several factors before deciding whether to transfer the case to an adult court, including psychological evaluations, the degree of violence used, the severity of the allegations, the level of maturity of the children, and more.

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[Featured image: Tom DiLorenzo/College of Charleston]