3 teen suspects in Nashville musician’s murder thrown out of court for their behavior

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Three teens charged with the murder of a Nashville musician were thrown out of court Thursday for their behavior. 

During their hearing, the judge said 15-year-old Diamond Lewis, 14-year-old Roniyah McKnight and the 13-year-old suspect were acting like they were “on a playground” and the “severity of the crime didn’t have any effect” on them.

After court, Lewis’s attorney said he believes his client is innocent of murder. He also had a message for Nashville.

“We’re dealing with children, and everybody needs to be responsible. Everybody needs to lock their cars and make sure they don’t leave their guns in there,” said Michie Gibson. “A lot of people carry guns, and I do too, but I try my best to make sure it’s not left in the car at night, and I never leave my car running.”

The three teens and two other juveniles, 16-year-old Decorrius Wright and a 12-year-old, are charged with the murder of 24-year-old Kyle Yorlets.

Yorlets was killed in the driveway of his West Nashville home on Feb. 7 during an attempted robbery. He was shot when he reportedly wouldn’t hand over his car keys. Yorlets laid inside his home for approximately two hours before his roommate discovered him, according to Metro police. He was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Detective Melody Saxon testified in court Thursday that the 13-year-old admitted that he and Wright both had guns when they approached Yorlets to rob him. Det. Saxon said the 13-year-old told her that when Yorlets wouldn’t hand over his car keys “a shot went off.” The teen said it wasn’t his gun.

Forensic testing in the case is not yet complete.

Saxon said both weapons were recovered and were swabbed for DNA and fingerprints. The bullet recovered from the victim will also be tested to confirm that it came from the gun recovered by police. 

The five juveniles allegedly committed many crimes before Yorlets murder, including stealing several vehicles.

Det. Saxon said the 13-year-old was caught on surveillance camera walking up a sidewalk off Charles E. Davis Boulevard with a silver and black gun in his hand. The 13-year-old was a runaway from Clarksville.

Diamond Lewis allegedly told Det. Saxon that she was “hanging out” with the four other juveniles and planned to help rob Yorlets. She said she went up to Yorlets and asked him for a dollar. She said she turned around after Yorlets gave her money and heard a shot.

When Saxon testified, the 13-year-old and Lewis began shaking their heads and then began loudly protesting. Finally, the judge told them to leave.

Family members for all three children were in court. The 13-year-old’s mother was visibly shaking and held a Bible. Lewis’s dad put his head in his hands and covered his mouth at various points of the court hearing.

McKnight didn’t make any statements to the police after she was arrested. Her parents did not show any emotion in court.

The state wants to try all five children as adults. 

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