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Teen accused in French artist killing found competent

Oralandar Brand-Williams; The Detroit News

Detroit — The youngest defendant charged in the robbery and killing of a French artist last year is competent to stand trial for the crime, according to a forensics and psychological competency report released in court Wednesday.

The brief court hearing for the 14-year-old, whose name is not being published because of his age, was adjourned following the release of the results of the competency examination.

The youth’s attorney, George Chedraue, told Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Alexis Glendening he has not received discovery material in the case and cannot move forward until he received the information, which are police reports and other evidentiary material.

The 14-year-old has been charged with murder and armed robbery. His is due back in court 9 a.m. Dec. 4 for a final pre-trial hearing in the case.

Police say the youngster was 13 years old at the time of the slaying. The young teen is allegedly part of a city gang, which preyed on outsiders in the east-side neighborhood near the city’s cultural center and the area near Interstate 75 and Brewster. Members are believed to have robbed and killed Bilal Berreni of Paris outside the abandoned Brewster Homes public housing project July 13, 2013.

Three adult defendants — 17-year-old Dionte Travis, 18-year-old Jasin Curtis and 20-year-old Drequone Rich — also have been charged in the case. They are due in court Friday.

About $300 was taken from Berreni during the robbery — the 14-year-old allegedly received $50. In a police confession read by a Detroit police homicide investigator during a September hearing for the youngster, the boy said he spent the money on “weed” and junk food.

The boy faces trial in juvenile court on first-degree murder and other charges. He could be sentenced as a juvenile or adult.

Berreni, 23, was living in Detroit at the time he was killed in the summer of 2013. He didn't have identification on his body and it took authorities until March to identify him through DNA and fingerprints.

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