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Preliminary hearing pushed back in teen murder case / January 05, 2011
A preliminary hearing has been pushed back for the 14-year-old Bluestone High School student charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of 16-year Harold Vernon Cooper, Jr. of Clarksville.

The defendant originally was due in court today for a hearing to determine if the murder charge should be certified to a Circuit Court grand jury. However, the hearing date has been delayed until Feb. 2, said Mecklenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Nora Miller.

When the preliminary hearing does take place, the judge may decide that the teenage defendant should be tried as an adult. If the case goes to trial in Circuit Court, rather than Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and the defendant is found guilty, the judge would retain the option of meting out a lesser punishment based on his status as a juvenile offender.

Lawyers participated in a Monday teleconference to discuss the timetable for the case, said Miller. The defendant, a neighbor and Bluestone High School classmate of the deceased teen, is being represented by David Powers II, a Chesterfield attorney.

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