WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) — A 14-year-old Utah boy charged with shooting another teen twice in the head in a fight outside a middle school in October will remain in custody as the criminal case against him proceeds, a judge ruled Thursday.

The boy's lawyer, Sophia Moore, asked for the defendant to be released, saying he is a young, first-time offender who is having problems in juvenile detention.

"We do believe this is a very severe case of bullying," she said of his experience in detention.

But Juvenile Judge Tupakk Renteria sided with prosecutors who said the unidentified suspect should remain detained, and ordered him kept in custody at least until his next court hearing set for Jan. 3.

The 16-year-old victim survived but is lucky to be alive, said Thaddeus May, a prosecutor with the Salt Lake County District Attorney's office.

"Obviously this is a very, very serious offense," May said. "But for the grace of God, we would have a dead child."

Prosecutors have said they want to move the case to adult court, where the defendant could face more serious penalties.

He is charged with attempted murder and weapons violations but not being identified because of his age.

The boys were feuding over a girl through texts and social media before the Oct. 25 fight near Union Middle School in Sandy, according to search warrants filed in the case.

Investigators said the younger boy was dating the 16-year-old's former girlfriend. The suspect used a gun he took from his mother's closet, police said.

The suspect sent several messages to the victim saying he wanted to fight, threatening to "smash his skull" and insulting the victim's dead parents, the search warrants said.

After firing the shots, the shooter fell to his knees and a teacher grabbed the gun out of his hand, prosecutors said in charging documents.


This story has been corrected to show the hearing was Thursday, not Wednesday.