- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A 16-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to charges that he fatally shot another teen in the head at close range, and his attorney asked a district judge to transfer the case to juvenile court.

Phillip Sam pleaded not guilty to 13 charges, including first-degree murder, in Laramie County District Court on Friday. The other 12 aggravated assault charges are related to shots fired into a group of teenagers that had shown up for a pre-arranged fight between Sam and another person on Oct. 5.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports (http://bitly.com/1tyPpf2 ) that public defender Melody Anchietta asked District Judge Thomas Campbell to transfer the case to juvenile court because Sam is a minor.

Transferring the case to juvenile court would close the proceedings to the public, and Campbell decided to close them now until he rules upon the request.

“From this point forward, the matter is to be considered sealed,” Campbell said in court.

Sam is accused of walking up to 19-year-old Tyler Burns and shooting him the head at point-blank range. Burns died the next day.

Authorities said that the shooting came after Sam fired more than a dozen shots at a group of teens who showed up for a fight between Sam and another person.

A teenager had accused Sam of vandalizing his car, leading to the fight the group had assembled to witness, authorities said.

Cheyenne Police Department Detective Jim Harper said in a previous court hearing that Sam brought a .40-caliber handgun because he was afraid of being “jumped.”

Harper said Sam fired without warning into the group of teens, then shot Burns again because he figured he should finish what he started and didn’t want Burns to suffer.

Witnesses told police that Burns begged Sam not to shoot him again, the detective said.

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Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com

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