WHITE PINE, Tenn. (WATE) – Hearts are breaking in a small community in the wake of the murder of an eight-year-old girl.
McKayla Dyer was shot and killed Saturday at her home in White Pine. An 11-year-old boy that was arrested and charged with first degree murder in her death had his first appearance Monday before Juvenile Judge Dennis “Will” Roach at the Jefferson County Justice Center.
Superintendent of the Juvenile Service Center in Knoxville, Richard Bean, said the 11-year-old boy has been at the facility since Sunday. He’s seen just about everything in his 44 years as the superintendent, but an 11-year-old facing first degree murder charges is a new one for Bean.
“This is the youngest. Keeps everybody on their toes. He’s such a little fella. We’ve got some pretty good sized young men here too,” said Bean.
Despite being only 11-years-old and facing a big charge, Bean said he’s being treated like the rest of the children.
“We treat them all like they’re in here for murder and we have a lot less problems when we do it that way,” said Bean.
The charges children face at the facility range from armed robbery, gun possession, and murder. Typically, the juvenile service center has children who are somewhere between 12 to 17 years old, but in this case, Bean said a judge gave permission for the 11-year-old to be there.
District Attorney General James Dunn said the boy was detained after the hearing. Dunn said Judge Roach set bond at $500,000.
“We’re in business to help a kid get straightened out before they’re 18, but on this case, it’s a little bit different,” said Bean.
Ed Miller, the 4th Judicial District public defender, said a hearing was scheduled for October 28, however he anticipates the hearing to be delayed.
The 11-year-old’s grandfather paid him a visit on Tuesday, but didn’t want to comment on the situation. Bean said children at the juvenile service center get one hour of visitation a week.