17-year-old girl from Franklin to be tried as adult for sexual assault
NORTHAMPTON Co., VA --A circuit judge has ruled that there will be one trial for a 17-year-old girl from western Hampton Roads who is charged with sexually assaulting two younger girls on a school bus while in Northampton County.
Ariel Darden, 17, of Franklin will be tried as an adult. She was indicted on nine counts related to the incident. The defense wanted separate trials for the separate people who brought charges.
'They will be tried together. I don't think justice requires separate trials,' said Circuit Judge W. Revell Lewis III.
Franklin High School girl's varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams were returning home after a pre-season exhibition game at Northampton High School last August.-
Darden and five other girls were charged in the assault.
Charges brought against the others were handled in juvenile and domestic relations court, said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Beverly Leatherbury.
Both attorneys made motions concerning the trial.
Defense attorney Justin T. Bush entered a motion to have a separate trial for each victim.
Leatherbury's motion was to have a single trial as the incident occurred in a brief period of time.
She said the same witnesses would be brought in for both people who filed charges.
Bush said the fact of more than one person who brought charges in the same trial would result in prejudice to his client.
'Her right to a fair trial would be compromised,' he said.
Leatherbury argued the evidence is interconnected.
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