Hearing set in “Juju” Smith murder trial

MURRIETA – A hearing to determine whether Skylor Atilano, the 16-year-old Menifee boy accused of killing his younger brother will be tried in juvenile or adult court has been set for Aug. 6, authorities said.

Atilano, who is charged with the murder, was arrested July 10 after the remains of his half brother, 11-year-old Terry Dewayne Smith Jr., were found buried in a shallow grave in the yard of their Helen Lane home.

Terry, nicknamed “Juju”, was reported missing Sunday morning, July 7. Riverside County sheriff’s officials said his older brother was the last person to see him alive, on Saturday night, July 6. Skylor was involved in the search efforts that rallied hundreds of volunteers and emergency workers to try to find the missing boy.

According to courthouse officials, the judge ordered that the teen continue to be held at Juvenile Hall. The proceedings are open to the public because of the nature of the charges against him.

Hearing postponed in Smith murder trial

MURRIETA – Skylor Atilano, wearing a yellow jumpsuit and a blank stare, made his first court appearance today in Juvenile Court at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley.

Atilano is accused of the murder of his eleven-year-old half-brother, Terry “JuJu” Smith, Jr.

The Sept. 17 hearing was to determine whether 16-year-old Atilano would be tried as an adult or a juvenile. The prosecution requested a postponement of the proceedings until Oct. 23 in order to process more information and provide it to the defense. The public defender agreed to the Oct. 23 postponement and the judge granted the motion. Atilano will remain in detention until that time.

Smith was reported missing Sunday, July 7. A massive four-day search in the heat involved hundreds of law enforcement personnel and volunteers. His body was found July 10 in a shallow grave behind the home in rural Menifee where Smith lived with Atilano, his mother and her partner. Atilano was charged with the murder on July 12.

At the July 15 hearing, the District Attorney’s office had petitioned the court for a section 707 (Welfare and institutions Code) fitness hearing to determine whether a juvenile accused of a serious felony should be tried as an adult.

“The judge will make the determination whether he will be tried in adult court or juvenile court,” said John Hall, Senior Public Information Specialist from The District Attorney’s Office. ”Those proceedings were postponed until October 23. He will be held in detention until that time.”

The judge did not rule on a previous request by the Riverside County Probation Office for a psychological evaluation of Atilano which was objected to by the defense at the July hearing.

The public defender also requested a special visitation for Atilano with his mother, which was granted.


Video by JP Raineri

Teen accused of killing 11-year-old brother to appear in court

MURRIETA – A teenager accused of killing his 11-year-old half brother and burying him in the backyard of their Menifee home is slated to appear for a hearing today at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

Skylor Atilano, 16, is accused in the July 6 murder of Terry Smith Jr.

Atilano is scheduled to appear for a juvenile detention hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer, who put off the same hearing in July at the request of the boy’s attorney.

The District Attorney’s Office intends to request that the defendant, who is being held at Southwest Juvenile Hall, be tried as an adult.

He was arrested on July 10 after Terry’s remains were located behind his family’s single-story home in the 33000 block of Helen Lane.

”This was a domestic issue within that residence,” sheriff’s Capt. John Hill said. ”There was no stranger in the city of Menifee who caused this to happen.”

According to investigators, Atilano initially said he had last seen Terry playing video games the night the youngster went missing. But the 16-year- old later changed his story, indicating he had seen his sibling walking behind him as he headed to a nearby store, whereupon he directed Terry to go back home.

The child was reported to be autistic. However, his father, Terry Smith Sr., flatly denied the claim, suggesting that his ex-wife fabricated the disability to obtain state aid.

Terry Jr. had lived with his father in West Virginia until 2009, when the elder Smith suffered a breakdown in his health and agreed to let Terry come to California to live with his mother and half-brother and sister.

Terry’s death was an emotional blow to the roughly 1,000 volunteers who took part in scouring a 55-square-mile area, looking for the boy. A public memorial service was held on July 25 to remember Terry and recognize the efforts of those who tried to find him.

Volunteers stumbled upon a shallow grave containing partially exposed human remains about 75 feet behind the Smith home in the predawn hours of July 10 and immediately notified deputies. Hill acknowledged that ”multiple searches of the property” had taken place previously without turning up any clues.

After the discovery, all members of the household were whisked away to the sheriff’s Menifee station for questioning. Atilano’s arrest was announced about 15 hours later.

22 Responses to "Hearing set in “Juju” Smith murder trial"

  1. S   September 17, 2013 at 8:38 am

    A sad story. However, if the mother did fabricate the boy’s disease to obtain state aid, she should be held accountable. I think that should be investigated too.

  2. Lee   September 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Immoral behavior breeds immoral behavior.

    THIS is the result, my dear fellow Fallbrookers, when we as a society champion guns, hate, violence, competitive sports, etc., AND the military-industrial complex. When our children see that those who they look up to, adults, resort to violent means in order to resolve a conflict, why then are we surprised that a teenager did the same? Why? Surely, many people will instantly add to also not forget Hollywood and its influence on society. Well, that may very well be true. Hollywood’s role in all of this is as a propagandistic tool to further the violence by the afore-mentioned factions of society. So Hollywood is NOT the sole and foremost propagator of this violence. Hollywood depicts a person holding and using a gun; our laws, government and the military-industrial complex actually afford us to use and DO use guns!

    When, for example, daddy takes junior to the gun range or gun show, tragedies like this are the ultimate result. Immoral behavior breeds immoral behavior.

  3. DR DR   September 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

    There has always been something bothering me about this case – maybe others can comment.

    If a child was buried in my backyard – two things – it’s a horrible smell and there would be a fresh large mound of dirt.

    Mom didn’t see this, smell this – and the volunteers found it. Yes, I’d try and protect my other child, but come forward about what I had found. No?

  4. Guest   September 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    To Lee:

    What does your comment have to do with this case?

    "When, for example, daddy takes junior to the gun range or gun show, tragedies like this are the ultimate result. Immoral behavior breeds immoral behavior."

    All families should teach their children about firearms and firearm safety. This is true whether or not they intend to own one. It is extremely important for your child to know what to do if he or she comes across a firearm. If you don

  5. Wondering   September 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Why would the defense object to a psych eval? I would think they would be requesting one.

  6. grunt   September 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Wow, Lee

  7. Pink   September 18, 2013 at 7:47 am

    @Grunt: We all know that trying to make sense of anything that Lee says is an exercise in futility. It is impossible to make sense out of nonsense. I don’t wish to make any judgements on a situation where I have so few facts, but in my opinion, it seems to me that this is more a case of a dysfunctional family life, and poor parenting.

  8. DR DR   September 18, 2013 at 10:17 am

    To get back on the subject:
    Poor kid. First his dad sends him off at 7. The mother leaves him with his half brother to watch – he was crimping their style. Disgustingly Pathetic.

    PS @Lee – Competitive sports is the most highly recommended for a child. It develops speed, health, concentration, coordination, teamwork, fulfillment, self esteem and if you’re good enough, a scholarship. It also requires a lot of TIME on weekends and after school, squeezing in homework.

    The alternative: Playing video games, drugs, watching hours of TV, ‘hanging out’, checking out peoples’ guns, being alone.

  9. Lee   September 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    @ #8 DR DR

    . . . and hate. PLEASE think of me the next time you watch ESPN’s Sports Center. Cool? Here’s some enjoyable reading for your enlightening pleasure:


  10. Lee   September 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    @ #8 DR DR

    PS. The alternative: music, art, reading, theater, sculpture, dance, etc. In other words, http://www.thevillagenews.com/story/73289/

  11. Hmm   September 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    @lee..so..what exactly would you have our children do..no sports..no fishing cause that’s cruel..no hunting..nothing outdoors cause the air might be caustic..play dough? No there might be toxins in the clay..what about swimming…biking…tennis? Dominoes maybe? You got so far off the subject..it’s a tragedy. And this so called teen should be tried as an adult.

  12. Pink   September 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    @Hmm: You are wasting your breath. As I said, it is impossible to make sense out of nonsense. Lee is the king of nonsense. His comments are, frankly, from another planet.

  13. Seriously   September 19, 2013 at 5:58 am

    A big problem with our legal system – they are either children or they are adults. You can’t have it both ways. They are legally minors to keep them from having adult rights because they still think like children, but making them legal adults (when they are minors) when they do something you want to punish them as adult for because they think like children is just wrong. Our legal system needs to stop doing this, it’s disgusting.

  14. DR DR   September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Yes Lee, you are correct.

    Other alternatives: music, art, reading, theater, sculpture, dance.
    Depending on the individuals’ nature, one can create violence or peace out of anything one does.

    Parents can teach their children all the right things, and a child can still turn to violence. Also, you can have the worst parents ever, and their children will turn out to be peaceable citizens.

  15. Lee   September 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    @ #14 DR DR

    Thank you, again. Oh, I suppose I agree with your comments on the surface. My whole point about organized sports is that they are PERFECT, and I mean PERFECT means to indoctrinate the young into hate and the military-industrial complex: by the artificial creation of the concept of "us vs. them".

    There is NO "us vs. them"; there is only us! That’s what we still don’t understand . . . although slowly but surely . . . are.

    And, of course, I quickly add that sports have been used as a means of indoctrination towards the ultimate goal of militarization ALL over the world, not just here in America. Remember the former Soviet Union? Gee, there was an indoctrinator if ever there was one! Just look at the GUARANTEED stories of hate, division, lies, cheating, wrong-doing that will surely accompany the upcoming winter Olympics. (Or look at the fact that within the short span of less than 50 years after the newly-formed modern-day Olympics in 1896, we have had TWO WORLD wars . . . and have been in a constant state of war ever since ALL over the world!) Or, as I said, turn on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Now, even parents get into brawls at their . . . little kids’ soccer matches or t-ball games, for heaven’s sake! Organized sports do NOT in ANY way, shape or form foster a peaceful and loving environment; they foster nothing but a HATEFUL environment . . . perfect for when junior is required to escalate that hate in a few years by pickin’ up a gun/weapon. And go to war.

    And kill . . . THEM. Or his own brother.

  16. Curious   September 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    What the #@%#@ is Lee smoking?

  17. S   September 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Okay, the more I read Lee, the more I believe Pink.

    I used to teach martial arts and my students had to know and follow the tenets:
    Courtesy, Humility, Integrity, Perservence, Self Control, Indomitable Spirit and Respect. I’d like to think that I made a positive impact on their lives. And, to be sure, martial arts is much more than fighting. In fact, I taught them NOT to fight. I had several of my students that were walking a line between gangs and martial arts (they couldn’t have it both ways) and they chose martial arts.
    Organized sports do NOT contribute to any violence that I know of.
    Sorry to get off of the main subject here, but I needed to respond.

  18. grunt   September 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    @S -I agree 100% with your philosophy – I studied martial arts (awarded black belt) in Japan under Japanese senseis. Knowing how to fight – having the confidence – often eliminates the need to fight; Martial arts, football, boxing, wrestling – all sports I played – teach and demand self-control. Lee, I think if you go to a prison and interview the violent criminals, you will find most did NOT participate in organized sports as a kid.

  19. Lee   September 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

    @ #17 S

    S, you were saying? http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/one-man-dies-fight-among-fans-near-t-135712818–mlb.html

    OK, let’s hear it, S!

  20. SR   September 30, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Please bring back some info on the trial for the murder of Theron Brison it has taken so long . Cases get forgotten and people can’t put a face to the person taken from us . So give the family and friends a boost , and refresh people’s memory our loved one . THANK YOU !!!!

  21. CK   June 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Let’s face it, Lee the Leftist & their ilk will not be happy until joyless, bitter feministas (of both genders) run everything and all men have all been reduced to squealing little metrosexual gerbils who know their place, raise the kids, carry a murse, and walk and talk like Johnny Depp in those "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

  22. grunt   June 13, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    @LEE #19 – those were NOT athlethes in the fight. Doubt they ever played organized sports.


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