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Cracks in juvenile justice system: Teens accused of murder months after cutting off ankle monitor

CrimeTracker 10 dug into the arrest records of other teens arrested for murder with a criminal history in Franklin County.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Feb. 3, 42-year-old Jonathan Reddy was shot and killed outside a hotel on the city’s north side.

The following week, police identified the suspect as 17-year-old Harrison Finklea.

At the time of the shooting, Finklea already had several run-ins with the juvenile court.

According to Licking County Juvenile Court documents, Finklea stole his father’s gun and sold it in September 2021.

The following month, Finklea was charged with possession of drugs and theft, according to Franklin County Juvenile Court records.

In December, Finklea was placed on an ankle monitor and allowed to be home pending his court cases.

Just four days later, Columbus Division of Police records shows his mother called to inform them her son was missing and that he had cut off his monitor.

It was only two months after that call that Finklea was charged with Reddy’s death.

Finklea’s case isn’t unique. CrimeTracker 10 dug into the arrest records of other teens arrested for murder with a criminal history in Franklin County.

Two other teens are accused of cutting off their ankle monitors just months before committing violent crimes.

The first is Michael Green. According to records, Green was in and out of juvenile court since 2017.

One of those cases includes an arrest for assault and threatening a school principal. Another includes a gun charge at Linden McKinley High School.

In May 2020, Green was allowed out on house arrest. Then on July 4, Green is accused of being involved in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Indiah Corley.

Juvenile Court Judge Kim Browne set Green's bond at $45,000 and ordered him to wear an electronic monitoring device if he posted bail. He was bound over to adult court.

The second teen is Javontae Williams. According to records, Williams was charged with improperly handling a firearm after he shot a gun in a car in May 2020 when he was 16.

He was placed on an ankle monitor in July 2020 and then moved to the "honor system house arrest."

Four months later, police accused him of standing over Sage Martin at Westland Mall and fatally shooting him.

CrimeTracker 10 took these cases to Administrative Juvenile Court Judge George Leach with questions about the juvenile justice system in Franklin County.

“It doesn't surprise me to find out that a juvenile who has tampered with an EMD has re-offended,” Leach said.

He says at any given time, there are about 100 juveniles in Franklin County who are on one of two types of ankle monitors.

He explains there's a point system based on their offenses, and if they reach a certain score, they are placed on the monitoring system.

When asked how often the electronic monitoring devices are tampered with, Leach said fairly frequently.

“There's YouTube videos. Other kids will tell you how to screw with them,” he said. “They know how to unscrew sections.”

Leach explains once an ankle monitor is tampered with an alert is sent. Officials then make contact with parents and friends to locate them.

If they can't find the juvenile, Leach explains, the probation officer files an arrest warrant. No one is dedicated to finding those teens once their monitor has been tampered with, Leach added.

“There's no active search. The warrant is filed, and then it sits there until the child comes into contact with law enforcement,” Leach said.

Leach says unless the juvenile is a suspect in another crime, it can take months before they are found.

“Without the buy-in from the parents and the community, it is just a monitoring device and is doomed to fail,” Leach contends.

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