Nickalas Kedrowitz will be tried in adult court for the 2017 killings of his 23-month-old sister and 11-month-old brother.
The older brother of Desiree McCartney (left) and Nathaniel Ritz has been charged in their deaths.
(Ripley County, Ind.) - A Ripley County teenager accused of smothering to death two of his siblings will be tried as an adult.
Fifteen-year-old Nickalas Kedrowitz is charged with two counts of murder for killing his 23-month-old sister Desiree McCartney in May of 2017. Just 13 at the time, he was removed from the family’s Osgood home by the Indiana Department of Child Services, which prevented law enforcement from interviewing him.
DCS later placed Kedrowitz back into the home. Then the following July, he allegedly smothered his 11-month-old brother Nathaniel Ritz.
Indiana State Police detectives say Kedrowitz used a towel or blanket to cover the noses and mouths of the young children to stop their breathing. Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel said last year that the teen remarked how killing the children freed them from “some sort of hell.”
Hertel announced Wednesday night, September 4, that a judge deemed Kedrowitz competent to stand trial.
“A judge determined Kedrowitz competent after several days of testimony from multiple psychologists who evaluated Kedrowitz. Based on this testimony, the judge ruled that Kedrowitz clearly understood the proceedings and was assisting in his defense, based on his statements and behavior during the evaluations,” said Hertel.
After a series of lengthy court hearings, the judge also determined that Kedrowitz should be waived from juvenile court and tried as an adult for both murders. Hertel said Indiana law allows defendants as young as age 12 to be tried as adults in murder cases.
The teen’s defense attorneys were unsuccessful in attempts to persuade the judge that it would be in the best interest of Kedrowitz and the public if he were to remain in the juvenile justice system.
“Prosecutors responded by admitting evidence that Kedrowitz has allegedly also mutilated small animals, and made threats to a classmate and teacher even after Kedrowitz was alleged to commit the murders,” said Hertel. “Prosecutors argued that those additional facts demonstrated Kedrowitz’s continued danger to the community.”
Now in adult court, Kedrowitz made his initial appearance on the murder charges Wednesday. Mark Jones and Lynn Fledderman have been appointed as his attorneys. He remains held at the Dearborn County Juvenile Detention Center, according to court records.
A jury trial is scheduled for February 18, 2020.
If convicted, Kedrowitz faces an advisory sentence of 55 years on each murder count. He is not eligible for a life sentence or the death penalty due to his age.