A teenager accused of killing his 11-year-old half brother and burying him in the backyard of their Menifee home was in court today for a hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, but the proceedings were postponed.
Skylor Atilano, 16, has been charged with murder in the death of his younger brother, Terry Smith Jr.
Atilano appeared in juvenile court Tuesday and was 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.
John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, confirmed Atilano's next hearing is scheduled Oct. 23.
The reason for the reschedule "was a stipulated motion between both sides based on further discovery coming in that we will be providing to the defense," Hall wrote in an email to Patch.
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. --City News Service and Toni McAllister contributed to this report.
More coverage on the Terry Smith case:
- Woman’s ‘Intuition’ Helps Find Missing Boy’s Body
- Community Mourns Menifee Boy's Killing While Awaiting Coroner's Confirmation
- Search Ends For Missing Menifee Boy, But Community's United Effort Not In Vain
- Have You Seen This Boy? He is at Risk
- Missing Autistic Boy in Menifee
- Police Still Searching For Missing Autistic Boy
- Hundreds of Volunteers Fan Out in Search for Missing Autistic Boy in Menifee
- 'Find Terry Smith' Facebook Page Established, Volunteers Continue Search For Missing Boy
- Still No Sign Of Missing Autistic Boy, Search Continues
- Search For Missing Autistic Boy Intensifies
- Volunteers, Authorities Searching Through the Night for Missing Menifee Boy
- VIDEO: No Leads In Case Of Missing Autistic Boy, Police Chief Says
- UPDATED: Police Uncover Possible Human Remains At Missing Autistic Boy's Home