NIAGARA FALLS - A grand jury will determine what happens next for the two men accused of killing 5-year-old Isabella S. Tennant last week.
John R. Freeman Jr., 16, of Sixth Street, and Tyler Best, 18, of Barnard Street, Buffalo, on Friday made their second appearance in City Court and waived their right to a preliminary hearing in the case. Niagara County Judge Angelo J. Morinello handed the case over to the grand jury, which will determine if there is sufficient evidence to put them on trial.
Freeman has been charged with second-degree murder and Best with evidence tampering.
According to police, Freeman was a frequent visitor at the home of Isabella's great-grandparents, Sharon and Hank Lascelle, and was the last person to see Isabella alive on the night of Aug. 26. Her body was found in a trash can the following morning. Freeman allegedly choked the little girl and in a statement to police said, "She wouldn't go to sleep. She wouldn't stop crying."
In court today, Freeman's family cried openly. They also have also questioned the boy's actions, according to Freeman's attorney, Robert Viola, who spoke after the proceedings.
"The family is very upset. It literally makes no sense. There is no explanation. We are as perplexed as everybody else," Viola said of Freeman's alleged actions that night.
He also said Freeman is "upset" and "overwhelmed" about what happened.
Viola said Freeman has had a psychiatric evaluation and has been deemed fit to stand trial and participate in his defense.
"Whether that changes in time, that is something that may have to be revisited," Viola said.