Arguments Completed In Teen's Case

Posted: August 05, 1989

After seven days of heated and sometimes emotional testimony, arguments ended yesterday in the hearing that will determine whether a Deptford teenager will be tried as an adult in last year's stabbing death of 12-year-old Kim Marie Anderson of Deptford.

Kenneth Houseknecht, the 16-year-old accused of the slaying, was described this week by his parents and medical, psychological and psychiatric experts as a disturbed and mentally ill youngster in desperate need of treatment.

Defense attorney Cesar Alvarez-Moreno presented experts who testified that they believed that Houseknecht, who was a neighbor of Andersons', could be treated and rehabilitated in less than three years. Experts testifying for Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Keith E. Johnson said that process may take 10 years.

Houseknecht - who has been held at the county's juvenile detention center in Clarksboro since his arrest April 20, 1988 - has already responded to limited treatment, Alvarez said yesterday. He has become more social and has experienced "emotional growth," he said.

"Isn't that favorable as far as his prognosis and ability to be rehabilitated?" Alvarez asked a prosecution witness.

"No," replied witness Kenneth Kool, a Philadelphia psychologist.

"He's no different than the day he walked in" to the detention center, Kool said. "He hasn't grown an inch."

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