Lawyers for teens accused of KOP Mall attack want case sent back to juvenile court

Jim Melwert
September 18, 2019 - 5:28 pm
Nyshay Hanton and Ellijah Simmons

Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Lawyers for the teens accused of attacking a woman in the King of Prussia Mall parking lot, stealing her car, and leading police on a chase down the Schuylkill Expressway before crashing into a SEPTA bus want the case sent back to juvenile court. 

Nyshay Hanton and Ellijah Simmons, both 17 years old, are charged as adults, with more than a half-dozen felonies, including aggravated assault and robbery. The two shuffled into court with the help of walkers, still recovering from injuries when their car slammed into a SEPTA bus on Sept. 3 at 37th and Spring Garden streets.

At their preliminary hearing, detectives recounted the statement from the woman the teens are accused of attacking in the parking lot. They say she told them told detectives she was walking to her car when the teens asked to use her phone. She had a feeling she was being robbed, so she gave it to them. But she says Simmons grabbed her from behind and started choking her when a 14-year-old girl, who is charged as a juvenile, punched her in the face. She says she passed out, and when she woke up, they were taking her car. She says Simmons told her not to move or he'd shoot her, and he motioned towards his waistband.

But Hanton's lawyer, Abby Leeds, argued unsuccessfully the case should go back to juvenile court, in part because a gun was never recovered.

"I think the evidence that came out today and the evidence that will continue to come out is that there was no weapon involved int his case," Leeds said.

Related: Police: 3 teens attack woman at KOP Mall, crash her car into bus; 2 charged as adults

The defense also argued for lower bail, saying the two were not getting proper treatment for their inuries.

But prosecutor Roderick Fancher argued that, for purposes of a preliminary hearing, just the mention of a gun was enough to hold the two for trial. He also pointed out Hanton just had a case in juvenile court in May, and Simmons was just recently charged with another car theft in Philadelphia.

The two are scheduled for a formal arraignment in Montgomery County Court on Nov. 6.