Judge in case of teen girls carjacking a woman calls it a ‘gang attack’

GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — In court Thursday afternoon, the judge handling the case of four teenage girls accused of stabbing and carjacking a woman in a mall parking lot called it a "gang attack on an elderly woman."

The prosecutor called it an "ambush."

Two of the girls are 15. Two are 14 and they’re both in 8th grade. One goes to school in the city, the other in Spencerport. Information on the schools for the 15-year-olds wasn’t shared in court.

"Have you ever had to defend a 14-year-old accused of these kinds of crimes?" I asked the defense lawyers for one of the 14-year-old girls.

"I’ve defended a 14-year-old accused of shooting someone on their way home from college. He was 14 at the time," said attorney Jim Hinman. "Right now I have two under age 18 clients who are charged with murder."

"So what’s going on in our community right now?" I asked.

Hinman: "Well, do you really want my take on that?"

Brean: "Sure."

Hinman: "My take on that is that as we’ve been spending millions and millions of dollars building new facilities out in Brighton, expanding the Monroe County Jail. We have not devoted enough resources to child protective services, truancy, family court and addressing issues that lead to younger and younger people engaging in more and more violent crime. I predicted this 25 to 30 years ago. I said if we don’t do something about beefing up the resources in family court — more judges, more caseworkers, more resources, more programs, keeping kids in school. You can throw in poverty, you can throw in racial injustice, all of those things, it all goes into the mix and the pot gets stirred and here we are."

Brean: "But it doesn’t excuse behavior."

Hinman: "I’m not using that as an excuse. That’s an explanation, not an excuse."

Brean: "Okay."

Hinman: "I don’t excuse the kind of behavior that’s alleged."

The allegation is that four teenage girls used a stolen car to go to the Mall at Greece Ridge.

The prosecutor said they spotted a 62-year-old woman in her car in the parking lot outside Macy’s department store.

The charges say the teens pulled the woman from her car, stabbed her leaving a one-inch cut and then stole her iPhone and the car crashing it five miles down Ridge Road.

Brean: "If it’s up to you and the DA’s office these cases stay in youth court which is criminal court for young people and not family court."

Anthony Freeman, prosecutor: "That’s our position, yes."

Brean: "And the reason behind that is why?"

Freeman: "Given the seriousness of the charges."

All four girls are charged with first degree robbery, second degree robbery and second assault.

All the girls pled not guilty.

They’re all still in custody and three out of the four lawyers said their families don’t have the money to post bail. Judge Stacey Romeo refused to lower it.

The teens and their lawyers are back in court on April 25 at 2:30.