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16-year-old arrested for deadly Shelton stabbing to be tried as an adult

16-year-old arrested in deadly stabbing of teen
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:22 AM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 5:47 PM EDT
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SHELTON, CT (WFSB) - A teenager arrested in connection with the stabbing death of a Fairfield Prep student in Shelton will be tried as an adult.

According to Shelton police, the unidentified 16-year-old suspect from Milford was charged with killing 17-year-old James McGrath of Shelton.

The juvenile was charged with murder and three counts of first-degree assault.

Police say the suspect is a student at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull. They say the suspect and McGrath knew each other.

The teen was held on a $2 million bond and scheduled to appear in Juvenile Court in New Haven on Wednesday.

While it marked his first appearance in court, the case won’t stay in juvenile court. Channel 3 was told that the suspect will be tried as an adult, so the case will be transferred to adult court.

“What’s happens from that point forward is hard to predict. He could be convicted of murder and be sentenced as an adult. On the other hand it can be reduced to a lower charge and sent back too juvenile court. These are all decisions the prosecutors and the judge will have to make once they have the case, but at the end of the day, the consequences are very severe for someone who is 16 years old and charged with murder,” said Mike Lawlor with the University of New Haven.

Lawlor has decades of criminal justice experience in Conn. He said if convicted, a murder charge carries a mandatory minimum of 25 years, though a judge could take into account the defendant’s age and emotional maturity.

The teen was scheduled to appear in Derby Superior Court on Thursday.

McGrath was stabbed during a house party over the weekend. Police said they responded to a home on Laurel Glen Drive in Shelton on Saturday night.

They said a number of teenagers were there. Four of them ended up getting stabbed, including McGrath.

Over the days that followed, police said they interviewed witnesses and built a case.

Police announced the arrest of the 16-year-old suspect on Wednesday morning.

McGrath’s obituary was posted online.

James McGrath
James McGrath

He was a junior at Fairfield Prep.

His family described him as a positive, loving and caring person.

“Many described Jim as a wonderfully happy person with a big heart who was a loving friend to many,” the obituary read. “He loved his school, Fairfield Prep, and he excelled as an athlete in every sport he chose. He played football and lacrosse for Fairfield Prep and as a youth for Shelton and Connecticut Wolves as well.”

They said he was someone who understood the meaning of being part of a team.

“His loyalty and support of his team members were known to all and his team mates and coaches treasured his dedication and willingness to work hard so that the team could be the very best it could possibly be. It was never just about Jimmy- it was always about the team,” the obituary continued.

Read the complete posting here.

A GoFundMe has been started in honor of McGrath. You can find it here.

St. Joseph High School released a statement:

St. Joseph High School holds the Fairfield Prep School Community close to our hearts and in our prayers. There are no words to properly describe such sadness in the wake of this devastating and profound loss of young life filled with such great promise. We call upon our community to offer prayers for the Fairfield Prep Community and the McGrath family as they grieve the death of a student and cherished classmate.

St. Joseph High School

The Shelton Detective Bureau said it is still actively investigating this case.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Shelton Police Department at 203-924-1544.

16-year-old arrested in Shelton stabbing death
A teenager arrested in connection with the stabbing death of a Fairfield Prep student in Shelton will be tried as an adult.