Girl, 15, accused of throwing bleach in guard’s eyes|[6/24/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2005

A 15-year-old girl is accused of injuring a youth detention center guard by throwing bleach in the guard’s eyes and may face charges as an adult.

Authorities identified Brittany Brannon, 15, a detainee in the Warren County Juvenile Justice Center, as having thrown two cups of bleach in the eyes of guard Veronica Butler.

“In this case we had a serious injury, the extent of which is still not known,” said prosecutor Richard Johnson, who represents the county in Youth Court.

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Youth Court Judge Johnny Price of Warren County Youth Court ruled Thursday that probable cause exists to charge Brannon with aggravated assault, a felony with a possible penitentiary sentence.

Butler’s vision continues to be evaluated by doctors, Johnson said. Thursday’s hearing was held in low light because Butler was there and her eyes remain sensitive, Johnson added.

Brannon is accused of obtaining the bleach from the detention center’s laundry area and throwing it in Butler’s eyes on Saturday, Johnson said. Price’s order says she was at least temporarily blinded.

The transfer to circuit court “is required to protect the community” and because “that the alleged offense was committed in a premeditated and willful manner,” Price wrote, setting bond for Brannon at $50,000.

Among those present at Thursday’s hearing were Brannon, her mother, Diana Nolan, and her attorney, Jerry Campbell, Price wrote.

“The effect of what’s happened today is she’ll be considered an adult, at least initially,” Johnson said, indicating the case could be remanded to youth authorities.

Price wrote that he found “clear and convincing evidence that there are no reasonable prospects of rehabilitation within the juvenile-justice system for this youth.”

Warren County Youth Court hears juvenile matters including delinquency, abuse and neglect of those under 18, and its proceedings are confidential. A state statute tells which kinds of cases may be transferred to general courts, Johnson said.

“It doesn’t happen very frequently,” Johnson said of such transfers, adding that they occur “primarily when all rehabilitation services and other options offered have been utilized, basically to no avail.”

The decision had yet to be made which law-enforcement agency would investigate the case, Johnson said.

Warren County’s juvenile detention center is located in a county complex across Adams Street from the Warren County Jail.