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'Soldiers on a mission': Judge sends 15-year-old's murder case to adult court for prosecution

Rashan Jordan was 14 when he helped track down and murder 16-year-old Stanley Freeman Jr. when Austin-East High School let out Feb. 12, 2021, prosecutors said.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Knoxville teen who authorities said helped hunt down and murder a 16-year-old student as he left Austin-East High School last year will face prosecution as an adult.

Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin ruled Friday morning the juvenile system could no longer help Rashan Jordan, 15. He's also not committable, the judge found.

Irwin said Jordan's case should be transferred to Knox County Criminal Court.

Jordan took part in the deliberate, planned killing of Stanley Freeman Jr. as the young man was driving away from the high school on Feb. 12, 2021, Irwin said.

Prosecutors accuse Jordan and co-defendant Deondre Davis, 17, of engaging in a crime spree in early 2021 that included two attempted murders. Davis was 16 at the time; Jordan was 14.

"As young as these kids were, they were soldiers on a mission," Irwin remarked.

The judge said he was mindful that Jordan was accused not only of Freeman's killing but also of the two attempted murder cases from January and February 2021.

More people could have died, he noted.

"Thank God for the near misses," Irwin said.

The judge set the bond for Jordan at $2.5 million. He'll await a review by a Knox County grand jury.

WBIR is naming Jordan and Davis because of the severity of the crimes of which they're accused.

Davis faces a hearing before Irwin later this spring to be transferred to adult court.

CRIME SPREE

Irwin already had found probable cause last year to believe Davis and Jordan shot and killed Freeman as he drove away from Austin-East after school let out.

He also had ruled there was probable cause to believe they shot at and tried to kill students in a vehicle near the high school during a car chase in January 2021 and that they'd shot a man Feb. 14 -- two days after Freeman's killing -- during a drug transaction in an East Knoxville church parking lot.

The teens were arrested two days later and have been in custody since.

Further proceedings in the Juvenile Court case were put off, for many months, so that the teens could get mental health evaluations.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Andrew Demick told Irwin on Friday that he met with Jordan and also talked with Jordan's grandmother, his primary caregiver. Demick testified Jordan's parents were incarcerated.

Demick said Jordan was a person of average to bright intelligence who got along well one-on-one with people but fell under the influence easily of older adults. That's what usually got Jordan into trouble, he said. He's not one to target people or be aggressive on his own, he said.

Jordan has made some "horrible choices," but with counseling under the purview of the juvenile court system, he could be rehabilitated, Demick testified.

"He's worthy of it, judge," defense attorney Travis Brasfield told Irwin. "Please give him an opportunity."

Knox County Assistant District Attorney General TaKisha Fitzgerald, however, said Jordan already had had a chance and wasn't willing to commit to treatment when he'd been prosecuted for stealing cars. Those crimes occurred before 2021.

On cross-examination by Fitzgerald, Demick agreed Jordan had skipped out when police tried to check on him. It also was true that Jordan hadn't been to school for many months before he and Davis are alleged to have gone on their early 2021 crime spree.

Fitzgerald told Irwin there was nothing more the juvenile system could do for Jordan. It's time for him to face adult prosecution, she said.

"These crimes were absolutely awful," she said.

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