CROWN POINT — Clad in red Lake County Jail attire and shackled, the 15-year-old girl charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of her mother in February made her first appearance Tuesday before Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell.
Chastinea Reeves was charged July 18 in Lake Criminal Court with murder, alleging she fatally stabbed Jamie M. Garnett, 34, on Feb. 13 at the family's Gary home in the 4400 block of West 23rd Place.
Reeves first went missing about 2 a.m. Feb. 13, according to police reports, and was considered “in extreme danger” when last seen in the area of the 2000 block of Maine Street. Police reports indicate she went to that location after her mother was the victim of a crime.
Police found Garnett’s body inside her home at about 2:10 a.m. that day. The Lake County coroner’s office confirmed the woman’s cause and manner of death were stab wounds in a homicide.
An Amber Alert was issued and Gary police located Reeves during the afternoon of Feb. 14. The Lake County prosecutor's office filed a petition of delinquency Feb. 15 alleging Reeves committed the murder, and prosecutors requested the girl stand trial as an adult.
She was detained at the Lake County Juvenile Detention facility.
Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. considered arguments on the prosecutor’s request during several hearings and waived Reeves from juvenile to adult court July 18.
Reeves made her formal appearance in Boswell’s courtroom represented by court-appointed attorney John Cantrell. The defense attorney entered a plea of “not guilty” on Reeves’ behalf.
Cantrell told Boswell he was waiting for documents from the juvenile court. He also asked that a bail hearing be slated with a court magistrate.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Judith Massa made a motion allowing court officials to take a buccal, or mouth swab, from Reeves to test for DNA, which Boswell granted.
“How old are you?” Boswell asked, and seemed surprised when Reeves replied, “15.”
The judge continued chatting with Reeves during the hearing, asking where she had attended school, what grade she was in and about her scholastic achievements.
“I went to Lighthouse (Preparatory Academy in Gary), ninth grade. I made As and Bs and one C,” Reeves told Boswell.
“A C? What did you get a C in?” the judge asked.
“Speech,” replied Reeves.
“Speech! Now I know you know how to speak,” Boswell said.
Reeves will return to court for an omnibus hearing Sept. 12.