FAYETTE COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - A group of teens appeared in a Fayette County courtroom after being charged as adults in a riot at a juvenile detention center.
There was some shuffling around Thursday morning inside Fayette County General Sessions Court to make room for a larger than normal hearing. Eleven 18-year-olds and their lawyers appeared all at once.
All 11 are charged in a riot at John S. Wilder Youth Development Center. Investigators said last month dozens of the teens at the center broke out of their rooms and caused more than $100,000 in damage. At times, investigators said, the youth used cinder blocks to cause the damage.
The 18-year-olds, most from Memphis, are charged in adult court with inciting a riot, escape and vandalism. Their bonds were set at $250,000 at their arraignment last month.
At Thursday’s hearing, several family members of the teens were there, but all declined on camera interviews. One father said he believes his son when he told him he’s innocent. Other parents have questioned how many guards were working around 5:00 p.m. Sunday, September 22, when it happened.
According to the Department of Child Services, which runs the center, there needs to be one guard per eight youth during the daytime hours. The department has declined to answer how many guards were on duty that evening, and has said it’s part of an internal investigation.
All 11 men will be back in court on November 18.