Detention Hearing Reset for Sept. 17; Atilano Still in Custody

Skylor Atilano, accused of the murder of his half brother Terry Smith Jr., sits beside his defense attorney in court today.
A judge today granted the defense's request to hold over the detention hearing for murder suspect Skylor Atilano of Menifee until Sept. 17, ruling the 16-year-old will remain in custody in the interim.

Dozens of media members, friends of the suspect and onlookers packed the court room and waited outside for a decision on the fate of Atilano, who is accused of murdering his half brother, 11-year-old Terry Smith Jr. Currently, the case is being heard in juvenile court at the Southwest Detention Center in French Valley. The judge has yet to rule whether Atilano will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney's office, said that decision probably will not even be made at the Sept. 17 hearing. The detention hearing is to determine whether the juvenile should remain in custody pending further court proceedings.

According to Hall (left), the judge made an interim finding to detain the suspect in custody until the next hearing, "based on the safety of the public as well as of the juvenile."

In the courtroom, the judge cited Atilano's probation status for previous "violent outbursts" as a factor in his decision to order that Atilano remain in custody. Hall said he could not discuss the suspect's past.

Hall told reporters outside the courtroom that the DA's office has petitioned the court for a 707 fitness hearing. Under section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a juvenile accused of a serious felony may be subject to a fitness hearing, in which the juvenile court judge decides whether to send the juvenile to adult court.

"We have requested a 707," said Hall. "We feel based on the evidence we have, it's better for the judge to make that decision."

In a separate request made before the judge, a representative of the Riverside County Probation Office requested that a psychological evaluation be performed on Atilano. The defense objected to that request, saying there was no legal basis for it. The judge decided not to order that evaluation at this time, pending the outcome of the Sept. 17 hearing.

Atilano's mother, Shawna (Bekkah) Smith, attended the hearing with other family members but chose not to speak to the media.

Skyor Atilano's mother, shielded by a friend or family member, and her partner Denise Bugna (red shirt) declined to speak to the press.





7 Comments:

  1. Shannon JarboeJuly 15, 2013 7:41 PM

    I, as well as SEVERAL others are still wondering WHY the mother is not in custody nor being charged. I am baffled. A person is simply not able to do what he has done in the short amount of time whithout even a trace and without anyone else in the home knowing.

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  2. I agree with you I think she should be charged!!!

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  3. Hmmmm, hopefully they are making this kids life hell so he will tell the truth about his mothers involvement. Hopefully we will see more arrests in this case soon.

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  4. I'm a Vegas resident but frequent Menifee often. I was amazed with the Menifee community during the search prior to the find. For a community to pull together like that and the family allowing these awesome volunteers to search for their loved one, correction, family member, is just unfathomable. I was moved just by reading the updates and brought to tears many times. It made me feel proud and hopeful that there are still decent people out there willing to help total strangers. No matter the circumstances, the family should NOT have allowed these people to give up their lives, in the conditions they did, knowing all along the truth. Shame on them. Karma will prevail if justice doesn't...

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  5. Police are swarming the house today

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  6. Hopefully the mom will be charged for something! She had some type of involvement!

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  7. let the law do its job.. the family see what you post.. and i am the family please think about the loss of the family.. just imagine your child getting killed.. what would you door say?.

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