GRETNA, La. -- A Kenner teenager accused of beating an elderly neighbor to death with a hammer and injuring his wife is competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Vincenzo “Jake” Randazzo, 16, was found to be able to understand the charges he faces after court-appointed doctors evaluated him, The New Orleans Advocate reported. Judge Scott Schlegel issued his ruling after a hearing at the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna.
Randazzo was charged as an adult with a count of first-degree murder in the death of 89-year-old Phillip Lynch Sr. and a count of attempted first-degree murder in the beating of his wife, Anita Lynch at their home on July 9.
Randazzo has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Investigators have said Randazzo became angry with his family after a shoplifting incident and went to the Lynch's house to ask for a ride to Baton Rouge.
Phillip Lynch refused, at which point Randazzo attacked the couple with a hammer. He then stole their car and drove to Baton Rouge, where he was later arrested.
The Advocate reported that the friend friendship between Randazzo and Phillip and Anita Lunch began after Randazzo stole a gun from the Lynch home.
After his father made him return the weapon, Randazzo agreed to perform odd jobs for the couple as a type of informal community service, The Advocate reported.
Randazzo remains behind bars at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.
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