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Northeast Middle School student charged with killing classmate to remain in juvenile detention

A large three-story brick school building  sits above a street where a gray car is parked blocking the entrance to the school. The car has the letters KCPS printed on it. A blue sign that reads "Northeast Middle School" sits on the grass in front of the building.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3

A judge rejected a request to release the 14-year-old suspect on home detention, calling the allegations a “most serious occurrence.”

A Jackson County judge on Friday ordered that the student charged with killing a classmate at Northeast Middle School remain in juvenile detention.

The 14-year-old male student was charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in Jackson County Juvenile Court. His identity was not disclosed because he is charged as a juvenile.

The student is accused of stabbing and killing 14-year-old Manuel Guzman. Guzman was found inside a school bathroom with stab wounds on Tuesday. He was taken to a hospital, where he died later that night.

The suspect’s defense attorney, Timothy Honse, said his client had no prior delinquent charges and that there was “more to the story.” He requested the student be allowed to be on home detention with his aunt under electronic monitoring.

Commissioner William Jackson rejected that request, calling the allegations a “most serious occurrence.”

Deputy juvenile officers Erika Jones and Joe Nietfeldt recommended the suspect remain in secure detention based on the seriousness of the charges, and for community safety and his own personal safety.

The next court date, for a pre-trial conference and detention review, is scheduled for May 4 at 10:20 a.m.

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell told families on Thursday that the incident remains under active investigation by the Kansas City Police Department. The district will also conduct an internal investigation.

More than ever, education lies at the intersection of equity, housing, funding, and other diverse issues facing Kansas City’s students, families and teachers. As KCUR’s education reporter, I’ll break down the policies driving these issues in schools and report what’s happening in our region's classrooms. You can reach me at jodifortino@kcur.org.
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