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New Carlisle teenager files appeal to murder, molestation conviction

A New Carlisle teenager who was found guilty earlier this year of killing and molesting a 6-year-old girl, now intends to appeal his conviction.

Anthony Hutchens was found guilty in January of strangling 6-year-old Grace Ross in the woods behind an apartment complex where both children lived in New Carlisle. After a two-day trial, St. Joseph County Judge Jeff Sanford sentenced Anthony to 64 years in prison.

Anthony was 14 when Grace was killed and his attorneys have consistently tried to have the case decided in juvenile court. Anthony was first charged in juvenile court in March of 2021, a few days after Grace’s body was found, but the case was soon moved to superior court given the severity of the charges. Even after the case was moved to superior court, Anthony's attorneys attempted to reverse that ruling, filing an appeal and then a separate motion to dismiss the case.

Anthony has not yet filed documents outlining the factual basis of the appeal, though it will likely revolve around the venue of the trial. At the trial, Anthony presented no evidence or witnesses on his behalf and his attorney asked only a handful of questions on cross examination of the state's witnesses. Sanford found Anthony guilty after a bench trial, meaning the judge, not a jury, presided over the case.

If Anthony’s appeal is successful, his case would likely go back to juvenile court where he would receive a less severe sentence. Anthony is currently being held in a juvenile facility run by the Department of Corrections per Sanford's order. When the boy turns 18, there will be a hearing to determine if he should remain in the juvenile facility until he is 21 or if he should be placed in an adult prison.

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.