Arraignment postponed for teen allegedly involved in July 4th violence

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Jerry Chambers, Jr. was scheduled to appear in Chatham County Superior Court on Tuesday.

He faces multiple felony charges, including murder, for his involvement in the deadly July 4th violence in downtown Savannah this summer. But a special motion by his attorney put the brakes on the arraignment.

Chambers' attorney is questioning the validity of the three felony murder charges his client faces. Arguing the three vehicular homicide charges should preclude those.

So, Judge James Bass set a date of Nov. 22 to make a decision on that special motion, meaning the arraignment is postponed until at least that point.

Again, the date for a determination on the special motion is set on whether or not Chambers should face the three counts of felony murder and vehicular homicide.

Police say he shot two teens in City Market and was the driver of an SUV that crashed. A pedestrian was killed and five others were injured when the suspects' car crashed. Two passengers in the car were also killed.

You may remember, investigators said Chambers is the same guy who was charged in connection with the armed robbery and shooting at the Savannah Mall last summer where a 63-year-old woman was attacked and robbed in the parking lot.

Chambers was originally charged as an adult but the case was then moved to juvenile court which means the judge is the only one to decide whether a juvenile is innocent or guilty. He was ultimately acquitted in the case.

Earlier this year, WTOC spoke to Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap who says they fought the case hard. During the two-day trial, they put up 40 pieces of evidence and called a number of witnesses.

She says over the last few years they've seen a spike in the number of violent crimes that they are prosecuting in Juvenile Court. Crimes like aggravated assault and gang violence are not considered Superior Court cases and must be tried in Juvenile Court only.

Investigators say Chambers was a member of the gang, "Only the Mob." Heap believes gang members know the system and are using it to their advantage because she says if a juvenile commits the crime, they will get less time.

Heap has already been talking to state lawmakers and other DA's around the state about how they can get more flexibility in the law that would allow more children to be tried as an adult.

Right now, Georgia law will only allow children to be tried as adults in Superior Court if they are charged with one of the seven deadly sins. It includes rape and murder; all other offenses are tried in Juvenile Court. This includes shooting someone and juvenile gang crimes.

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