Murrieta, Calif. - A judge has decided to postpone a hearing for 16-year old Skyler Atilano, accused of killing his half-brother 11-year old Terry Smith Jr. last week in Menifee.
Last Friday, the Riverside County District Attorney's office made the decision to file a charge of murder against Atilano, in connection with the death of his 11-year old half-brother.
During the hearing, which would have discussed the possible release of Atilano to his parent's care, the judge decided to postpone any further proceedings until September 17th, and ordered that Atilano remain housed at the juvenile hall at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta. The judge cited a previous history of "violent outbursts" and a violation of probation when deciding to keep him in custody. Riverside County District Attorney public information officer said he could not give more details about Atilano's criminal history.
The probation office requested that Atilano undergo a psychological exam, but that request was denied. All parties have been ordered to return to court on September 17th.
Outside of the Southwest Detention Center where the hearing was held, friends of Atilano's cried for his innocence. Several carried signs saying "Free Skylor." "It takes a certain kind of person to hide a body for four days," said Miguel Diaz, a friend of Atilano's. "To lie to law enforcement for so long, that's not Skylor, you know?"
Skylor's friends said his mother should receive some of the blame. They spoke about his tumultuous relationship with her. "On Facebook, there was a cry for help," said Diaz. "A clear cry for help."
Some of Atilano's supporters believe his mother should even be right next to him in front of the judge. "If he is guilty, he's not guilty by himself," said Denise Johnston, a Menifee resident. "He's guilty for the life he's been put through."
11-year old Terry Smith was first reported missing by his mother the morning of Sunday, July 7, 2013, from the family's residence in the 33-000 block of Helen Lane in Menifee. That led to a four-day search for the missing boy involving numerous law enforcement agencies as well as more than 1,000 civilian volunteers.
The body of Terry Smith Jr. was found in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in a shallow grave on the family property. It was later reported that a psychic helped law enforcement find his body.