Reno Juvenile Found Guilty of Murder in Deadly Robbery Case
March 2, 2017
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has announced that a 16 year old Reno juvenile male has been convicted of 1st Degree Murder for the killing of a 16 year old Reno boy that occurred at Pat Baker Park in late December of 2015. Following the case being submitted for prosecution, the DA’s office sought and was granted adult certification of the defendant prior to the start of the trial. DA Hicks based this decision on the seriousness of the crime committed and in the interests of justice for the victim and public safety.
Christian Joel Scott, was 15 years old at the time he shot and killed a local 16 year old boy during a pre-planned robbery of a Gucci belt the juvenile victim had listed for sale. Scott was found guilty Monday of 1st Degree Murder, Robbery, and Attempted Murder in Washoe County District Court following a 6-day jury trial. Upon the guilty verdicts, a penalty trial-phase occurred where the jury set the murder sentence at 50 years with parole eligibility beginning after 20 years have been served. Scott faces further sentencing by the Court for the other charges and the enhancements for using a deadly weapon. Scott will be imprisoned in the NDOC juvenile facility until he turns 18, when he will then enter adult prison.
The Reno Police Department Robbery Homicide Unit led the investigation into the shooting that took place in the afternoon of December 29, 2015. Based on witness statements and evidence from the scene, detectives determined that the shooting was related to a confrontation between Scott, and the two juvenile victims he robbed of the Gucci belt at gunpoint. Shortly after being robbed, the two victims were driving in the area when they again encountered Scott who shot at the pair, hitting the 16 year old driver in the head. The victim was transported to Renown Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. The second juvenile victim was not injured. Detectives were able to identify Scott and located him later that evening. He was arrested and initially booked into Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center. Once the case was submitted for prosecution, adult certification was sought and obtained.
During trial, Deputy District Attorney Amos Stege presented evidence that the defendant planned the robbery stating in his confession, “I was going to rob them from the get go” and that the victim was shot in the back of the head as he tried to flee from the defendant. He further provided testimony that showed the defendant hid or destroyed evidence after the crime and that he admitted to selling the murder weapon shortly after the killing.
At the sentencing phase, the victim’s mother and father gave emotional testimony about the loss of their only son, a Reno High student, and avid soccer player who had a part time job to pay for his car. Evidence was also presented that showed, despite the defendant’s young age, the robbery was sophisticated and deliberately planned. His lack of remorse was highlighted in a portion of his police interview. When he was asked if he felt bad for what he happened, he replied “a little.” Evidence was also presented about the defendant’s prior delinquent history with juvenile services, starting at 9 years old.
In 2014, Nevada law regarding certification of juveniles who commit violent crimes changed (see NRS 62B.390). Prior to the change, juveniles charged with murder or attempted murder would have been automatically considered adult defendants. Currently, adult certification for these charges must be specifically sought by the District Attorney, a decision which is based on the nature of the offense, the history of the offender and the safety of the community. In addition to the removal of automatic adult certification, the 2015 legislature (AB267) changed the penalties for juveniles convicted as adults and eliminated life without parole sentences. In Nevada, the maximum sentence that can be imposed on a juvenile is life with the possibility of parole in 20 years unless the conviction resulted from a murder where two or more deaths occurred.