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Hearings Begin On McHugh Trial Status

By Hyun Soo Kim

Associate News Editor

A two-day hearing to determine whether Shon McHugh will stand trial as an adult for the Sept. 18 murder of Yngve K. Raustein '94 at Middlesex County District Court ended Wednesday afternoon. McHugh was one month shy of his sixteenth birthday at the time of the murder.

If convicted as an adult, McHugh faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

Attorneys will make closing arguments to Judge Sevirlin Singleton next Thursday.

Jill Reilly, spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, said, "Over a two-day hearing, each side put on psychiatrists to testify on the treatment of Shon McHugh. ..."

According to the district attorney's account of the crime, Raustein was murdered during an apparent robbery attempt on Memorial Drive by three Cambridge youths, Joseph D. Donovan, 17, Alfredo Velez, 18, and McHugh. Donovan knocked Raustein down while Velez robbed Raustein's companion. When Raustein started to rise, McHugh stabbed Raustein.

Prosecuting Attorney John W. McEvoy Jr. said that McHugh "is dangerous to the community. Murder is obviously the most serious type of crime you can commit. Also, he had a prior offense of assaultive behavior in summer 1991. So we feel he should be tried in Superior Court. We feel he is not amenable to treatment."

McHugh's attorney, Robert George, agreed that the alleged offense is serious, but said no serious court or delinquency record existed to prove that McHugh is incapable of rehabilitation in juvenile treatment program. "If the person is amenable to treatment, then that person deserves a chance to be rehabilitated," George said.

Found guilty of assault

According to McEvoy, McHugh pleaded guilty of striking an adult over the head with a bicycle seat. In the summer of 1991, McHugh and a friend were removing valve covers from a corvette when the owner confronted them.

McHugh was sentenced to a year's probation for the incident, McEvoy said. He was on probation at the time of the murder.

"At the age of 16, with the capacity to change which he has, he should not be placed in an environment such as a maximum security prison, where he could very well be killed, raped, and is vulnerable both physically and psychologically," George said.

Commenting on testimony produced in court, McEvoy said, "According to evidence produced in court, he has developed a personality and a way of dealing with the world that is ingrained. Any treatment which is given to him won't change him. ... His school work had gone down, he was carrying a knife during the summer, and the fact that he killed someone [Raustein] and bragged about it afterward. ... He made adult decisions and he should be tried in an adult court."

If McHugh is tried as a juvenile, he will face a maximum sentence of 20 years, 15 of them without parole. "He will be incarcerated for a long period of time, beyond his 21st birthday," George said. "The latest when he will be released from juvenile detention and sent to the adult system is 23. If he acts up, and is not performing, he could be transferred [to the adult system] at 18," George said.

McHugh has been held without bail in a juvenile detention facility since the time of the crime. "He's doing well in detention. He got on the honor roll five times while in detention -- for the first time in his life," George said.

"It does no one good to place him in the black hole of the adult justice system," he added.

Donovan and Velez face a regular adult hearing in Superior Court for a trial date. According to Reilly, they will be tried within a few months.

(Editor's note: Josh Hartmann contributed to the reporting of this s t o r y . ) < I > < \ 2 > < \ 2 > < \ 2 > <\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2