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2027

Gary girl, 15, charged as adult in mother’s February death

A 15-year-old girl was charged as an adult Tuesday in the death of her mother earlier this year in Gary, according to court records.

Chastinea Reeves, who was the subject of an Amber Alert after Jamie Garnett, 34, was found dead in February, was charged with murder in Lake County, court records show.

Police were dispatched around 2:10 a.m. on Feb. 13 to the 4400 block of West 23rd Place, where Garnett was found unresponsive. The Lake County Coroner’s Office ruled her death a homicide and that she died of stab wounds.

Around the same time on Feb. 13, Reeves was reported missing and Indiana State Police issued an Amber Alert for her.

The Amber Alert was was canceled after Reeves was found safely around 2:30 p.m. Feb. 14 walking alone near 21st Avenue and Carolina Street in Gary after police received information generated from the alert, according to police.

Reeves’ first court date had not been scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon, but her case was assigned to Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell.

A second teen was also charged as an adult in connection with the homicide. Matthew Reginald Martin, 16, of Merrillville, faces charges of assisting a criminal and auto theft, according to Lake County court records.

Gary police interviewed Martin on Feb. 16 "in reference to the homicide of Jamie Garnett," and Martin "admitted that he participated in the removal of the victim’s vehicle and helping to dispose being coof several items that were used during the murder of Ms. Garnett including the clothes the suspect was wearing as well as the knife used to commit the crime," according to a probable cause affidavit in Lake County court records.

The government filed a petition in March to try Martin as an adult, citing that "the offense charged is of heinous or aggravated nature" and a "repetitive pattern of juvenile offenses," according to court records.

Martin’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 25.

Reeves is not the first juvenile charged with murder as an adult in Indiana. Paula Cooper became the youngest member on Indiana’s death row after being convicted of t 78-year-old Gary Bible teacher Ruth Pelke by stabbing her 33 times with a butcher knife in 1985 when Cooper was just 15.

Before a 1987 Indiana law, the minimum age a defendant could be sentenced to death was 10. The 1987 law raised the age to 16, and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the law should retroactively be applied to Cooper, sparing her from the death penalty.

Cooper was released from prison in 2013 and committed suicide at age 45 in May 2015 in Indianapolis.

In Lake County, Alyssa Barrett, o Crown Point, was charged when she was 17 years old with the murder of her mother, 54-year-old DeCarol Deloney-Cain. Barrett, now 20, was sentenced last year to 50 years in prison in Lake County after entering a plea agreement.

Barrett said she wanted her mother dead after Deloney-Cain wanted her daughter to have an abortion, according to court records. Along with her boyfriend, Damarius McGriggs, now 21 — who was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role — the two turned off the electricity to the family home in the 9400 block of Roosevelt Street in Crown Point and lured Deloney-Cain to the basement on July 3, 2014. McGriggs put a pillowcase over the woman’s head and repeatedly hit and stabbed her while Barrett was present, according to court documents.