Teenage suspect accused of killing sister, Savannah officer will be tried as an adult
CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Neighbors of a Savannah Police Department officer and his wife are remembering their caring friendship as the teen accused of killing them has his first court hearing.
Michael Barber, 16, is accused of stabbing Savannah Police Corporal Luis Molina and his wife Akina to death.
Only one piece of crime scene tape is left on Palmetto Bay Cove, but those who knew the Molinas say Monday's brutal crime is still surreal.
Barber's arraignment hearing was quick, and he wasn't in court. Judge Tammy Stokes set no bond and set his next court date for Sept. 13. He's accused of stabbing his sister, Akina, and her husband. He is currently facing two counts of malice murder.
According to state law, teenagers - between the ages of 13 and 17 - charged with murder is automatically charged as an adult.
That's not the only crime that Georgia law dictates that teenagers are tried as adults. There is a list of seven crimes, which includes charges for murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and armed robbery.
So, unless the charges against 16-year-old Barber change, he will be tried as an adult in Chatham County Superior Court.
According to the Chatham County District Attorney's Office, under no circumstances has there been a case where a teen was charged with murder and tried in Juvenile Court.
Those who lived closest to the couple say everything that happened Monday is still unbelievable.
They say the couple was warm and welcoming, saying Luis was the kind of neighbor who saw you working in your garden and picked up a shovel to help and Akina always had a smile on her face.
"He was very nice. Very nice person. Very friendly. You know, that's really my picture of Luis. Yesterday was just devastation. It was… I mean it's still sinking in how this happened," said Jack Fahey, who lived across the street from the Molinas.
A police report from the Chatham County Police Department has shed new light on the initial moments of when police responded to the scene. A portion of the police report is available below.
On August 13, 2018, I was dispatched to a signal 3 at 11 Palmetto Bay Cove at 6:15am. Upon arrival Cpl. J Desomma and I approached the house and observed an unidentified black male sitting down by the front door. Cpl. Desomma asked the black male later identified as Michael Barber what was going on. While Cpl. Desomma was in the process talking to Mr. Barber, I noticed a gun in Mr. Barber's left hand.
I drew my weapon and gave several verbal commands for Mr. Barber to drop the weapon in which he complied. I secured Mr. Barber in hand restraints, searched him and placed him in my patrol car. After placing Mr. Barber in my patrol car, Ms. Douglas (11 Palmetto Bay Cove) advised me that the victim's wife was inside the house next door (9 Palmetto Bay Cove) and needed to be checked on. I asked Mr. Barber if anyone else was inside the house. Mr. Barber replied "Yes, my sister but she is okay. Upon opening the door at 9 Palmetto Bay Cove. I identified myself as County Police and continue to call out if anyone inside called out to me.
Once I enter into the left side of the house I found an unidentified black female (later identified as Akia Molina) laying on the bedroom floor. I immediately radio into dispatch that there was a victim inside the house and to roll EMS 10-18 and check for a pulse. Ms. Molina did not have a pulse. EMS tech Jeffery Marshall arrived on and pronounced Ms. Molina deceased. Additional Staff arrived to help secure the crime scène. I transported Mr. Barber to 54 Johnny Mercer Blvd to speak with CID Detective Slayden and was transported to RYDC for processing without incident. End of report.
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