Teen facing adult justice

Posted: April 13, 2012

A NORTH Philadelphia teen's bid to be tried as a juvenile for his alleged part in a botched robbery-turned-murder last May was thwarted Thursday.

Marvell Hargrove, 18, needs more rehabilitation than he could have ever received in the three years he'd be eligible to be in the juvenile-justice system, Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner concluded.

"This is an incredibly sad day. Not as sad as that day back in May of last year," noted Lerner, who said he wasn't convinced that it would have been in the public's best interest for Hargrove to be tried in Family Court.

Lerner's ruling means that Hargrove, who was 17 when he was arrested two weeks after the May 26 slaying, will be tried as an adult for murder with co-defendant and alleged gunman Quasheam Richburg, 21.

Hargrove and Richburg, with a sawed-off shotgun, entered Trax Foods corner store, on Front Street near Girard Avenue, in Northern Liberties, to rob the place, said Assistant District Attorney Deborah Watson-Stokes.

Hargrove distracted clerk Mustafa Shaker by pretending to buy Tylenol. Richburg pulled the gun and pointed it at Shaker, 50. Hargrove tried unsuccessfully to open the register, she said.

When Shaker threw a flash light at the defendants, they ran, but Richburg turned back and allegedly shot Shaker, killing the Egyptian immigrant and father of two. The defendants fled empty-handed and were recorded on the store's surveillance camera.

In arguing that Hargrove should be tried as a juvenile, defense attorney Michael Medway said that he had no prior arrests, had turned 17 just three months before the shooting and had a horrible upbringing. Medway said that his client had fallen under the spell of his older co-defendant.

Contact Mensah M. Dean at 215-568-8278 or deanm@phillynews.com.

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