Hamilton County Judge Thomas Lipps ruled the two Steubenville teenagers charged with rape be tried as juveniles and released from the detention center.
It was an emotional hearing as witness after witness took the stand. Three hours of testimony in a hearing watched by an entire community. Just after the judge made his ruling known many people in the court erupted into tears when the judge announced the teens would walk out of court today.
"We are extremely pleased with the judge's decision today. All signs pointed to the fact that they should be handled in the juvenile justice system and we are even more pleased that they are going to be able to go home to their parents," says Adam Nemann one of the Defense Attorneys.
Judge Lipps stressed that because he decided to release them doesn't mean that this is not a serious crime. The judge said rape is a felony in the first degree and they are accused of a crime against a person.
The judge reached his decision after hearing from the victim's mother who was a prosecution witness and character witnesses put on the stand by the defense. Testimony came from coaches and teachers from Steubenville High School as well as parents and guardians.
The defense also presented a video containing one of the teen's report cards, awards, certificates and progress reports.
The defense presented a binder of letters that have poured in to support one of the teens. Judge Lipps took all of the testimony and evidence into consideration and reached his decision.
A pre-trial is set for December 14th at 1030 am.